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Testicular Disease

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What can I do to prevent testicular disease?

There is no proven way to prevent testicular cancer. This is why early detection is so important. Experts recommend that all young men perform a testicular self-exam monthly. There also is no recommended method to prevent varicoceles, hydroceles, or testicular torsion. Epididymitis can sometimes be prevented by practicing safe sex and avoiding heavy lifting or straining with a full bladder.

How is testicular disease treated?

Testicular cancer is treated according to the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Cancer that has not spread from the testicle can be cured by orchiectomy, a surgery to remove the testicle. If it has spread outside the testicle testicular cancer treatments may include surgery to remove the abdominal lymph nodes, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of the three.

Testicular cancer is one of the most curable cancers. Even after it has spread, testicular cancer is usually curable. The best chances for cure are when the cancer is detected and treated early.

Epididymitisis is usually treated successfully with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Bed rest, pain medications, using an athletic supporter and ice packs on the scrotum may help more severe cases. The pain can resolve very slowly, sometimes taking weeks or months.

Testicular torsion is a true medical emergency. If caught in time, the affected testicle can be saved. Emergency surgery is usually required to "untwist" the testicle and to prevent it from happening again. Sometimes the other side is fixed as well.

Varicoceles usually don't require treatment. But for men with varicoceles and impaired fertility, microsurgery to tie off the dilated veins of the varicocele is effective. Varicoceles can also be corrected without surgery by injecting a tiny coil into the abnormal veins.

If a hydrocele is very large or causing pain, surgery can usually correct it. Injecting a special material through the scrotal wall can sometimes fix hydroceles without surgery.

What else do I need to know about testicular disease?

Hernias are sometimes mistaken for testicular disease. When a lower part of the abdominal wall muscles are weak, part of the intestine can bulge through it. When the intestine pushes into the scrotum, it's called an inguinal hernia -- although the scrotum swells, and it can appear to be a testicular problem. The solution is surgery to fix the weak part of the abdominal wall.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Charles E. Jennings, MD on September 12, 2013
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