Skip to content
Back to Articles

Understanding the differences between prostate and testicular cancer

November 22, 2023

Understanding the differences between prostate and testicular cancer - featured image

While both prostate and testicular cancers involve the male reproductive system, they differ significantly in terms of demographics, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment strategies.

Cancer is a complex group of diseases, each with its own distinct characteristics and implications. Prostate cancer and testicular cancer are two types of cancer that affect the male reproductive system. Despite sharing the same general area of the body, these cancers differ significantly in terms of risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Here we talk about the differences between prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Anatomy and Function

Prostate Cancer: The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder, surrounds the urethra and contributes to seminal fluid production. Prostate cancer typically originates in the glandular tissue and may exhibit slow growth.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer, on the other hand, begins in the testicles, the male reproductive organs responsible for sperm production. Testicular tumors may arise from germ cells or other cell types within the testes.

Risk Factors

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is predominantly seen in African men, advanced age, family history of genetically inherited cancers (prostate, colon ,ovarian, breast and endometrium cancers).

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer, in contrast, primarily affects younger men, often between the ages of 15 and 44. While family history plays a role, the presence of certain congenital conditions or an undescended testicle can also heighten the risk.

Symptoms and Detection

Prostate Cancer: Early stages of prostate cancer may be asymptomatic. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include urinary symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and discomfort in the pelvic region. Diagnosis often involves a combination of a digital rectal exam (DRE), prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and imaging studies.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer may present as a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms can include testicular pain or discomfort, changes in testicle size, and a feeling of heaviness. Self-exams and imaging, such as ultrasound, play a crucial role in early detection.

Treatment

Prostate Cancer: Treatment options for prostate cancer vary based on the stage and risk stratification. Active surveillance, observation, surgery, brachytherapy alone or brachytherapy combined with external beam radiation, long – course radiation therapy , hormone therapy, and chemotherapy are among the common approaches.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer often requires a combination of surgery (orchidectomy), chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy. The specific treatment plan depends on the type and stage of the cancer.

Prognosis

Prostate cancer

Overall survival for males with local or locally advanced prostate cancer is typically prolonged with 5, 10 and 15-year relative survival rates of 98%, 98% and 96% respectively for those diagnosed with localized disease.

For males with metastatic disease, most will die of prostate cancer, approximately 30% and 10% will still be alive at 5 to 10 years respectively.

Males with metastatic hormone sensitive disease have varied median overall survival rates which ranged from 13 to 75 months in reported studies.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer also boasts high cure rates, with the five-year survival rate exceeding 95%. Early detection and advances in treatment contribute to these favorable outcomes.

To book an appointment you can contact Dr Ndamase’s practice on Tel: 011 458 2194.

 

Dr Ncumisa T Ndamase

Clinical Oncologist

You may also be interested in:

Shining a Light on Epilepsy - featured-image

February 14, 2024

Shining a Light on Epilepsy

Keeping Your Balance - featured-image

February 14, 2024

Keeping Your Balance