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Question:

Analysing the impacts of testicular cancer and examining the causes and symptoms of the disease?
 
 

Answer:

This paper aims at analysing the impacts of testicular cancer and examining the causes and symptoms of the disease. Further, it tends to highlight the burden associated with the area under consideration from an Australian Perspective. By definition, Testicular cancer is most common types of cancer among male between the age group of 15-35. However, the problem of Testicular cancer can arise in men older than 35 years also (Whipple, 2013). Hence, it is required that men take care of their health and consult the physician if symptoms are detected. Studies carried on Testicular cancer reveal that this cancer is mostly observed in young men and the chances of having this cancer are usually very rare. Testicular cancer usually occurs at different stages. In all, there are around four stages of testicular cancer. At the first stage, the cancer is confined to testicles only. At stage two, the cancer is likely to spread in other parts and hence spread to retroperitoneal lymph nodes. This is located rear of the body below the diaphragm and between kidneys. At stage three, the cancer has spread more and targets the remote sites of the body like lungs, kidneys, brains etc. At fourth stage, the patient is likely to die. Studies reveal that men usually detect testicular cancer themselves either while self-examining or by accident. Testis is usually soft and oval-shaped (Krege, 2008). Men who examine themselves frequently can easily detect any changes in their testis. There are no fixed causes of testicular cancer. Although researchers have been trying to find the most potential causes that lead to testicular cancer but there hasn’t been any development in the area. Further, testicular cancer is not contagious and doesn’t spread from one person to another. Studies reveal that testicular cancer can be common in men whose testicles don’t develop normally. Men whose mothers have taken a hormone called ‘DES’ to prevent miscarriage might also face difficulty with their testis. Besides this, men who might have got some kind of injury to scrotum also develop testicular cancer. There are numerous symptoms that can let men know that they might be suffering from testicular cancer. These can include: a lump is testicle, enlarged testicle, shrinking of testicle, change in consistency of testicle, heaviness in scrotum, pain in lower abdomen, and accumulation of fluid in scrotum, pain in testicle or tenderness of breasts. These are clear symptoms of testicular cancer (Krege, 2008). This kind of cancer puts immense burden on the healthcare system, people and government as a whole. The testicular cancer is estimated to be one of the leading causes of burden of disease among men in Australia. The cases of Testicular cancer have been rising in Australia since the last few years. For the men in Australia, the risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer by the age of 85 years is 1 to 214. The number of men diagnosed with this cancer has increased by more than 50% in the last 30 years. The reason for this growth is still not known in Australia, however some of the factors that may increase a man’s risk of having this cancer include an abnormal testicle when he was an infant, family history i.e. having a father or sibling who has had suffered from testicular cancer, previous male infertility and Down syndrome. Fortunately, most testicular cancers in Australia are successfully diagnosed and treated well in time (Krege, 2008).

The Testicular cancer is estimated to be the reason for over 1000 disability adjusted life years (DALYs) in Australia.  In this case, DALYs stand for the years of healthy life lost due to testicular cancer in Australia(Craig, 2009). These years have either been lost through premature deaths or by living with disability due to testicular cancer. Australia has the third highest age standardized incidence rates of Testicular cancer (6.1) around the after New Zealand (7.8) and the United Kingdom (6.3). In many countries including Australia, Testicular cancer is the most commonly identified or diagnosed disease among the men aged between 15-40 years. Since the incidence rate of Testicular cancer has been increasing among men of reproductive age in Australia, the disease has been causing a lot of burden on the people and healthcare system of the continent (Rustin, 2009). Due to this, it has been predicted that the high estrogens levels in the womb might contribute to the development of testicular cancer. The increasing cases of testicular cancer directly link to a strong birth cohort effect. All of this has been resulting in a lot of burden on the people and healthcare system of Australia. On the other hand, there has been a commendable decline in the Testicular cancer mortality rate in Australia in a span of past few years since the healthcare system has been striving hard to devise treatments that could successfully lessen the burden of Testicular cancer (Atkin, 1982). The introduction of advanced chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimens, as well as guidelines to help standardise the tumour management has helped a lot in the declination of mortality rate due to testicular cancer in Australia. While an untreated testicular cancer metastasizes and gradually leads to the death of the victim, the advances in treatment in Australia have led to an increase in 5-year survival rates during the span of last 30 years (Rustin, 2007). But a huge burden of testicular cancer still prevails in Australia because the incidence rates of the tumour continue to rise among men in the continent. The reasons for the cancer need to be known as only this could help the healthcare system in the country to devise appropriate techniques and uproot the causes of Testicular cancer.

 

References

Whipple, T. (2013). "Male cancer is almost beaten after chance find". The Times. Accessed on 28 Feb, 2015.

Krege, S. (2008). "European consensus conference on diagnosis and treatment of germ cell cancer: a report of the second meeting of the European Germ Cell Cancer Consensus group (EGCCCG): part I". European Urology 53 (3): 478–496.

Craig, R. (2009). "Testicular Cancer: A Prototypic Tumor of Young Adults.”, Seminars in oncology 36 (5): 432–438. doi:10.1053/j.seminoncol.2009.07.006. PMC 2796329. PMID 19835738.

Rustin, G. (2007). "Randomized trial of two or five computed tomography scans in the surveillance of patients with stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis: Medical Research Council Trial TE08; ISRCTN56475197—the National Cancer Research Institute Testis Cancer Clinical Studies Group". JCO 25 (11): 1310–1315.

Atkin, C. (1982). "Specific chromosome change, i(12p), in testicular tumours?". Lancet 2 (8311): 1349.

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