November 12, 2021
Testicular cancer, even at an advanced stage, is one of the most curable cancers. So says Dr. Ntomboxolo Mboyi, clinical oncology specialist at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital in Gauteng.
With November being dedicated to raising awareness of testicular and prostate cancer, ‘Movember’ is the social media cause aimed at destigmatising male health and promoting screening.
Dr. Mboyi says an increase in testicular cancer amongst African males has been a new trend, for unknown reasons. “From what I can tell, perhaps [African] men are positive about doing their yearly checks compared to years ago when it was still a little bit of a taboo topic.” She adds, that even though this group of men have shown positive strides in screening, “they also present with advanced stage of the disease.”
Typically, testicular cancer remains a risk for men who are between the ages of 15-35 years old, in white men more than African men and of course, those with a personal or family history of testicular cancer.
Dr. Mboyi adds that cryptorchidism (testicular malposition or undescended testis) is also a risk factor. “Testicular atrophy, high exposures to estrogenic compounds in-utero, high intake of saturated fat, cholesterol and dairy products, as well as Hypospadias, a condition where the opening of the penis is underside rather than at the tip, are all factors that should be assessed for risk in a patient.
In terms of early detection, staging and treatment, Dr. Mboyi says several advances have been made. “There are a few cancer societies and associations that recommend testicular self-examination monthly if the patient has risk factors.”
She says if one does get screened and an abnormality is found, lab tests and examinations are conducted. If results show cancer, “staging is determined by size of tumour, whether it has spread to nodes and their size lastly the spread to other parts of the body ranging from early to advanced disease.”
Treatment is dependent on the stage of the disease and early stage detection could be treated with surgery followed by active surveillance resulting from an excellent prognosis following surgery.
“Some patients prefer to be given chemotherapy after surgery and for those who are not candidates for chemotherapy, radiation therapy is also an option,” she says.
Dr. Mboyi says active surveillance with the patient includes doing CT scans, scrotal ultrasounds and tumour markers to check if there is no residual disease or recurrence.
“The intensity of follow up is dictated by the type of tumour, stage and risk of recurrence.”
She says that screening is not recommended for asymptomatic males “…as there is no real benefit because this is one of the most curable cancers even at an advanced stage.”
Oncology Treatment is also offered at the following hospitals:
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