Testicular cancer symptoms and treatment explained - as Lincoln manager Michael Appleton reveals diagnosis

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 1:13 pm
Testicular cancer tends to mostly affect men between 15 and 49 years of age (Photo: Shutterstock)

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton has revealed he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The 45-year-old, who has previously managed West Brom, Portsmouth, Blackpool, Blackburn and Leicester City, is to undergo surgery and will take a leave of absence.

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But what are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and how is it treated?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer?

The NHS website explains that testicular cancer is one of the less common cancers, and tends to mostly affect men between 15 and 49 years of age.

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum are not in the testicle and are not a sign of cancer, but they should not be ignored.Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:

  • an increase in the firmness of a testicle
  • a difference in appearance between 1 testicle and the other
  • a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum

When should I see a GP?

You should see a GP if you notice a swelling, lump or any other change in one of your testicles.

Lumps within the scrotum can have many different causes, and testicular cancer is rare.Your GP will examine you and if they think the lump is in your testicle, they may consider cancer as a possible cause.

However, only a very small minority of scrotal lumps or swellings are cancerous. For example, swollen blood vessels (varicoceles) and cysts in the tubes around the testicle (epididymal cysts) are common causes of testicular lumps.

“If you do have testicular cancer, the sooner treatment begins, the greater the likelihood that you'll be completely cured,” says the NHS.

What is the treatment for testicular cancer?

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are the three main treatments for testicular cancer.

There are two main types of testicular cancer:

  • seminoma
  • non seminoma (some doctors may call these teratomas)

Both types develop from germ cells in the testicles, which is why testicular cancers are also called germ cell tumours. Germ cells in men produce sperm.

Your recommended treatment plan will depend on:

  • the type of testicular cancer you have – whether it's a seminoma or a non-seminoma
  • the stage of your testicular cancer

The first treatment option for all cases of testicular cancer, whatever the stage, is to surgically remove the affected testicle (an orchidectomy).

However, deciding what treatment is best for you can be difficult and your cancer team will make recommendations.

Before discussing your treatment options with your specialist, you may find it useful to write a list of questions to ask them.

For example, you may want to find out the advantages and disadvantages of particular treatments.