The Health Index
Testicular cancer is a malignant disease that starts in one of the two testicles and can later spread to the other testicle and the sperm duct. This type of cancer can be cured in most patients. With a share of about 1.6 percent of all new cancer cases, testicular cancer is a rather rare tumour disease. 80% of testicular cancer patients are younger than 50 years. An early diagnosis and a therapy that is well adapted to the individual case increases the overall very good chances of recovery and survival of testicular cancer patients.
What are the causes?
The causes of testicular tumours are still largely unexplained. Men with a testicular malposition such as undescended testicles have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. Men who have close relatives with this cancer, who have had testicular cancer before or who have been diagnosed with infertility (infertility) also have an increased risk of testicular cancer.
Environmental factors do not seem to play a role. This means that there are few approaches for preventing testicular cancer. This makes early detection and optimal treatment all the more important. If the disease is detected early and adequately treated, the cure rate is almost 100%. If the disease is diagnosed in a severely metastasised stage, the cure rate drops to approx. 70%.
What are the symptoms?
The first indication of testicular cancer is in most cases a painless swelling or hardening of one of the testicles. This is accompanied by an accumulation of fluid around the testicle. Even a change that appears to be inflammation but does improve under drug treatment can be an indication of cancer and therefore requires further clarification.
If you experience one or more of the symptoms listed below, you should always consult a doctor to find out the cause in good time. Pay attention to the following symptoms:
A palpable, painless hardening of the testicles
Swelling or pain in the testicular area
A feeling of heaviness or a pulling in the testicles or in the groin
In advanced stages of the disease, back pain can also occur, which is caused by an enlargement of the lymph nodes
How can a nutrition practitioner help?
The exact cause of testicular cancer is not yet discovered, but there may be a genetic predisposition. It is now known that having a gene does for a disease does not mean that the disease will manifest itself. That only happens if the gene is expressed, i.e. whether it is “switched on”. There is a whole new field of research – epigenetics – that is looking into which factors affect gene expression.
We already know that it depends very much on diet and lifestyle choices, and in any case: a good diet and healthy lifestyle may will not do any harm. If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer and are being treated, your nutrition practitioner will work alongside your medical team. Knowing how, what and when to eat while on cancer treatment can have a considerable impact on how you feel during treatment.
A nutritional approach always depends on the individual case but may focus on diet and lifestyle interventions generally used to prevent or manage inflammation, which may help reduce pain and speed up recovery. A nutrition practitioner will ask questions about your overall health and health history, diet, lifestyle and exercise habits. They will look at your food diary to see where there may be room for improvement. Your nutrition practitioner may also recommend functional testing. They will then develop a customised diet, supplement and lifestyle plan for you.