Testicular cancer is diagnosed by the appearance of a lump on the surface of the testicle. Any lump found on the surface of the testicle should be urgently assessed and it is recommended that patients regularly check themselves for any lumps.
Any lump found on the testicle is usually investigated with an ultrasound scan, a painless procedure which helps the specialist to get a clearer picture of the testicle and surrounding area.
If the ultrasound shows that the lump is cancerous, the testicle will be removed. You will also undergo some blood tests and a CT scan to see if the tumour has spread to other parts of the body. The vast majority of testicular cancers are treatable.
You will be given the opportunity to have an artificial testicle inserted at the time of your operation and you can also arrange to have your sperm banked prior to the surgery.
Following the removal of the testicle, you may require chemotherapy treatment, depending on the nature of the tumour.
Hydrocele is a build-up of fluid around the testicles that can affect one or both, causing swelling in the scrotum and groin. They are smooth and can vary in size and are mostly painless and harmless, although larger hydroceles can cause some discomfort so may need to be removed. Hydroceles are diagnosed following ultrasound scan of the scrotum. In the event that surgery is required, this is usually a simple day case performed under general anaesthetic.
Epididymal cysts are the most common cause of any scrotal swelling. These cysts are usually between a few millimetres to a few centimetres in size and largely painless. Patients who believe they have found one of these masses should inform their doctor who will usually recommend an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis. Only larger or symptomatic cysts will be treated (removed) and it is recommended that any symptomless cysts are left untreated.
Varicocele is the enlargement or dilation of veins in the scrotum, which is generally harmless but can cause reduced sperm production and quality, and in some cases can cause infertility. Not all varicoceles will affect sperm quality though, some can cause the testicles to shrink.
Varicoceles usually present no symptoms although on occasion can cause pain ranging from mild discomfort to sharp, and worsening throughout the day.
As varicoceles are usually symptomless they rarely require any treatment, although if you notice that your testicles are differing in size or experience any pain or discomfort, you should contact your doctor.
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