Prostate cancer and testicular cancer are two different diseases affecting the male reproductive system. These cancers occur in two different locations and commonly affect men at different stages of their life. Because of these differences, it’s important for ALL men to learn as much as they can so they can take the appropriate steps toward early detection.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate, the small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is the most common cancer with about 1 in 9 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer affects mostly older men, with an average diagnosis age of 65. Other risk factors include poor lifestyle habits, family history of prostate cancer, and race. African-American men are more at risk than men of other races.
As with many other cancers, prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages.
More advanced cancer may cause signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone pain
Prostate cancer that is detected early – when it has not spread past the prostate gland – has a better chance of being treated successfully. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men with no symptoms or family history begin prostate cancer screenings at the age of 50.
For more information, you can read our blog. Prostate Cancer: When Men Should Be Screened?
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.
Unlike prostate cancer, testicular cancer is rare, accounting for about 1% of all cancers in men. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 250 men will develop testicular cancer during their lifetime.
Although testicular cancer can occur in men of any age and race, it is most often diagnosed in younger, Caucasian men who are between the ages of 15 and 35. Men who have abnormal testicular development and men who have a family history of testicular cancer may also be at an increased risk.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer that men should be aware of include:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- Pain or discomfort in the groin area
- Testicle feels heavier than usual
- Breast growth or soreness
- Low back pain
- Early puberty in boys (under the age of 9)
Early detection remains the key to survival.
At this time, there is no way to prevent testicular cancer. However, it can be detected at its earliest stage during routine physical exams with your physician and self-examinations at home. While not all lumps are cancerous, if you find a lump in a testicle it is best to make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.
Screening for Early Male Cancer Detection is Key
Remember, both cancers are highly treatable – but early detection remains the key to survival. To learn more about prostate cancer screenings, ask your doctor for information or get a referral to your local prostate specialists.