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What’s The Difference Between Prostate And Testicular Cancer?

Prostate and testicular cancers occur in different parts of the body, and they commonly affect men at different stages of their life. These two basic differences between prostate and testicular cancer are significant for all men to understand, so they can take appropriate precautions to detect tumors early.

Testicular Cancer

patient talking to doctorThis is a highly treatable cancer which occurs mainly in young white men between the ages of 15-35. It can develop in one or both testicles and is rare compared with other types of cancers.

The testes, located in the scrotum, produce sex hormones and generate sperm for reproduction. Testicular cancer can be easily detected using a safe and effective testicular ultrasound if symptoms present themselves. 

Young men should perform monthly self-exams as a screening tool. While in the shower and using the thumb and forefinger, look for any changes in shape, any lumps or nodules, unusual firmness, or tenderness.  

Who Is At Risk For Testicular Cancer

Although this is a relatively rare cancer, young men should be aware of the risk factors. Some common risks include:

  • A family history of testicular cancer
  • A previous diagnosis
  • Infertility
  • History of undescended testicles which occur at birth affecting about 3-4% of male babies.
  • Certain genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome
  • Men with HIV

Prostate Cancer

This cancer usually affects men 65 and older. It also affects 60% more black men than white. Prostate cancer is highly treatable if caught in the early stages. There is less than a 15% death rate with early detection and treatment.

The prostate is a gland which produces the fluid for semen. This type of cancer can be both slow growing and aggressive, and many times there are no symptoms until it has spread.

Older men should have regular screenings for prostate cancer.

One inexpensive and safe test is the PSAT, or Prostate Specific Antigen, blood test. It is recommended that men over the age of 50 have this test annually, especially African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer. It’s always important to talk to your doctor to help you interpret your results.

The other test recommended is the DRE, or digital rectal exam, for men over the age of 40, or earlier. Unfortunately there is no real pain or typical symptoms with a prostate tumor, consequently this cancer can grow without any awareness.

Although symptoms are rare, frequent urination, painful and burning urination, interrupted urine flow, and blood in the urine or semen may be among the signs of prostate cancer.

Treatments include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Link Between Testicular And Prostate Cancer

Recently, studies have shown that there may be a link between the two cancers. Men who have had testicular cancer may have a higher risk to develop prostate cancer later in life.

Although both cancers are highly treatable, detection remains the key to survival.

Call Northwest Medical Specialties at (352) 428-8700 to schedule an appointment for annual screening tests.