How exactly is testicular cancer diagnosed?

Written by: Mr Ahmed Ali
Edited by: Conor Lynch

We recently spoke to highly revered consultant urological surgeon, Mr Ahmed Ali, to find out what the main warning signs of testicular cancer are, whether or not it is curable, and what exact steps are involved in the diagnosis.

What are the main warning signs to look out for in relation to testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a very rare form of cancer. It mainly occurs in men between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. Usually, the main sign is finding a lump in one testis, incidentally, during examination.


Occasionally, men also present with pain or general discomfort in their testis, a feeling of heaviness, and sometimes noticing certain changes in the scrotum. These are certainly all warning signs of testicular cancer.


How exactly is testicular cancer diagnosed?

So, most men actually know when they could have testicular cancer. The majority of men feel the lump, and once they find it, they will present this to their doctor, who will then undertake an examination, and hereafter refer them accordingly.


Once they come to see a specialist, a series of blood tests will be carried out, including tumour markers, that are very helpful in the diagnosis. We also perform a very urgent ultrasound scan to either make an accurate diagnosis, or rule out testicular cancer. Occasionally, we might send the patient for a CT scan, just to check if they don’t have any secondary effects.


What are the main causes and risk factors?

There are no real causes of testicular cancer, but there are plenty of risk factors. The main risk factor is what we called undescended testis. This occurs when the testis does not descend during birth.


Other risk factors include exposure to radiotherapy and chemicals, but usually, it is undescended testis that is the main cause that we look for.


When should surgery be considered?

When it comes to testicular cancer, surgery is the main cure, and is considered in nearly all testicular cancer cases. In an extreme minority of patients, where they present with severe metastatic testicular cancer (where the cancer has spread to other organs and is causing life-threatening symptoms), chemotherapy will be the first course of action for these particular patients.


Is testicular cancer curable?

Luckily, testicular cancer is a very curable condition. More than 95 per cent of men with the cancer will be clear within a timeframe of five years. Even in the highest risk/latest stage scenario, the cure rate is 60 per cent, thanks to chemotherapy agents being used.


Mr Ahmed Ali can certainly guide you in the right direction when it comes to ruling out or diagnosing testicular cancer, and can offer the most suitable treatment option for this. Consult with him today if you are worried about any symptoms that could potentially be related to testicular cancer by visiting his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Ahmed Ali

Mr Ahmed Ali is a highly experienced consultant urological surgeon who specialises in bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, testicular cancer, bladder tumours, as well as benign prostate enlargements, amongst many other urological-related conditions. He currently practises at the London-based outpatient 25 Harley Street, as part of the Phoenix Hospital Group, privately at The Parkside Suite, and the BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital

He is the current lead of the bladder cancer services at the Frimley Park Hospital's urology department, the founder of the Arab British Urological Society, as well as also being a consultant urologist at Urology Partners LLP. He is an expert when it comes to urological oncology, and is, to-date, highly qualified in relation to each and every aspect of urological-related diseases.

He qualified as a doctor in 2005 after successfully completing an MBChB in medicine at the established University of Baghdad, which allowed him to go on to obtain a master's degree in urology in 2013 from the University College London. During this time, Mr Ali would also complete a fellowship at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. 

Impressively, Mr Ali was responsible for introducing the en bloc procedure to effectively carry out a bladder tumour resection and has gained an extensive amount of experience with regards to implementing narrowband imaging, blue light cystoscopy, as well as laser tumour ablation.

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