Testicular cancer is one type of malignancies in men that forms in the tissues of the testis. Testes consist of two glands, which take the shape of an egg that are carefully encased in the scrotal sac. The testes carry out the function of synthesizing sperms as well as male hormones such as testosterone which determines the secondary sexual characteristics in humans. Testicular cancer may occur either in middle-aged individuals or at earlier stages of development (National Cancer Institute). There are usually two main categories of testicular cancer; seminomas and nonseminomas types (National Cancer Institute). Seminomas cancers develop rather slowly and are often sensitive to radiation therapy while nonseminomas cancers consist of different cell types, which develop in a rather faster rate compared to seminomas testicular cancers.
The causes of testicular cancer are not well known although congenital abnormalities, undescended testicles or cryptorchidism, testicular cancer personal history and the family history of testicular malignancies have been blamed for the occurrence of testicular cancer (National Cancer Institute). In cryptorchidism, the testicles distend from the abdomen into the scrotal sac before one is born. This increases incidents of testicular cancer even when surgical treatments are provided. Congenital problems in the kidneys, penis or the testicles increase the risk of cancer of the testicles. Personal and family history may suggest the presence of cancer gene that is transmitted to the offspring (MedlinePlus).
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
the oncologists or physicians specialized in the area of cancer can examine the testicles routinely during physical examinations. However, it is advisable for men to check for the symptoms themselves. It is advisable for men to report any changes they find unusual about their testicles to the doctor. Some of the unusual symptoms that should be reported include swelling in the testicles or a painless lump, discomfort or pain in the scrotum, enlargement or a change in the manner the testicles feel, heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the back, lower abdomen or in the groin and a sudden fluid collection in the scrotum (MedlinePlus). Since these symptoms can indicate other disease conditions and cancer, there is need for medical diagnosis.
Detection of Testicular Cancer
Doctors may request a blood test which normally measures the levels of specific tumor markers (Mayo Clinic Staff). Tumor markers are classes of proteins that increase or decrease in their levels in cancer cases. For instance, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (BHCG) may indicate the presence of cancer of the testes (National Cancer Institute). Blood tests can give conclusive results when such cases of cancer cannot be determined by imaging techniques and physical exams. Ultrasound tests involve passing high-frequency waves into organs and tissues to produce echoes known as sonograms. Sonograms show the size and presence of testicular cancers (National Cancer Institute). The other diagnostic technique used to detect testicular cancer is by microscopy or histological techniques that use biopsies to determine the presence of testicular cancer.
Critical Age for Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is a type of malignancy that affects men of the age of between 20 to 34 years (Navkiran, Davis, Carol, and Gurjeet 12). This is the time when men require constant checking of the symptoms which might indicate any presence of testicular cancer. Men are advised to have self-examination regularly to check out the presence of lumps or any changes in their scrotal integrity.
Rationale of Testicular Cancer Education
The importance of educating the public and men about issues related to cancer of the testes has been identified. Strategies to implement programs aimed at increasing this awareness have been launched and the results from such programs have been recorded and concluded to be effective in the prevention of testicular cancer. Consumer health information has played significant role in the promotion of public health. The same education provided to the public is proposed to provide good preventive strategies for testicular cancer. For this reason, increased funding have been pooled to enhance rigorous research and patient education strategies in order to provide awareness to patients suffering from testicular cancer, healthy individuals and the friends and relatives of the afflicted patients. The scope of this paper is to discuss the rational or the underlying principle behind the use of education in dealing with issues related to testicular cancer.
Health information about cancer and specifically patient education about testicular caner constitute of medical instructions as well as support information critical for making decisions. They also include personal care and health education and information, complementary or alternative medicine and quality-in-care information 9Mayo Clinic Staff). Information on testicular cancer is readily available with the advanced biomedical knowledge and the powerful internet tools that enhance information archival and retrieval.
Patients with testicular cancer can increase their survival chances by detecting the cancer in early stages before it advances to intolerable levels (Henkel 21). As cancer progresses, treatment of the malignancies becomes difficult. It not only becomes hard for patients to heal but it also costs a lot of funds to care for patients in advanced stages of testicular cancer. Therefore, as survival chances increase with timely detections, testicular patients should be taught and encouraged to practice regular body checks to confirm if they are having any abnormalities in their testicles (Henkel 21).
Providing testicular cancer education to men ensures that men are aware about the age when they are most likely to get cancer of the testes. In addition, men learn various social behaviors that predispose them to cancer when they engage in them. Through education, they can avoid these practices and keep cancer at bay. Although testicular caner may have not been shown to be caused by exposure to unprotected sex, there is a possibility that sexual practices can serve as a cause to testicular cancer (MedlinePlus). Viruses such as papilloma virus often get entry into humans through unprotected sex. Viruses are important in activating proto-oncogenes to oncogenes which are potential in the cause of cancer. Although this has not been proved of testicular cancer, health education that emphasizes the importance of practicing safe sex should be encouraged to prevent men of age 20 to 34 from getting the cancer (National Cancer Institute).
Some geographical locations are more prone to testicular cancer just like any other cancer that affects mostly populations in the western countries (Mayo Clinic Staff). Education on testicular cancer will be crucial in helping male individuals in places so prevalent of cancer to take the necessary prevention measures to avoid any incident of testicular cancer. Most cancers are believed to be caused by occupational exposure and it is now critical to offer health education to individuals especially those working in areas where there is asbestos production or in industries which produce chemicals that have been shown to be carcinogenic or cancer causing.
Sometimes patients with testicular cancer get depressed and often lead poor lives because of stress (National Cancer Institute). They may feel that they are the only ones with the disease yet there are other individuals out there with the same condition. Education about testicular cancer will serve as an encouragement, which will improve the lives of cancer patients (Mayo Clinic Staff). Some stress factors may even make cancer to progress in a faster rate. Stress affects the body’s own immunity and if immunity is compromised, the symptoms of cancer will be worse.
The nature of testicular cancer makes people not to fully understand the disease better. Cancer of the testicles is poorly documented since people seem to hide and only come to mention about the disease while it is too late. All cancers when detected and treated early will have a good response to medication. Testicular cancer, although easily treatable, can progress to states that cannot be treated. It is therefore important to provide education to men so that they can report immediately without any shame when they experience any changes in their scrotal sac or feel pain in the testicles.
In conclusion, testicular cancer is one of the malignancies that can be cured. It occurs in men aged 20 to 34 years and it is a rare type of cancer. Men should always have self-examination at least after 6 months to ensure that they detect testicular cancer in time. Nurses are crucial in providing patient education and health education about healthy living among healthy individuals as well as the patients. However, the importance of health education will take care of the complexities such as different cultural practices. The importance of the health programs to take account of cultural diversity is aimed at making more patients to be freer to seek medical attention when having testicular cancer.
Henkel, John. “Testicular Cancer: Survival High With Early Treatment.” FDA Consumer, 30 (1996): 21-52.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Testicular Cancer.” Testicular cancer. 2010. 24 May. 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testicular-cancer/ds00046>
MedlinePlus. “Testicular Cancer.” Testicular Cancer. 12 May. 2010. 24 May. 2010. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/testicularcancer.html>
National Cancer Institute. “Testicular Cancer.” Testicular Cancer. 2010. 24 May. 2010. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/testicular>
National Cancer Institute. “Testicular Cancer: Questions and answers.” Testicular Cancer: Questions and Answers. 24 May. 2010. 24 May2010. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/testicular>
Navkiran, K., Davis, B., Carol, A., & Gurjeet, S. “Testicular Cancer Screening in a Primary Care Setting.” International Journal of Men’s Health, 2 (2003):12-31.