Why earlier diagnosis can lead to improved outcomes for testicular and prostate cancer
Sponsored feature | Kasra Saeb-Parsy, consultant urologist, Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital
Although rare, testicular cancer is unusual as it is the most common type of cancer that affects younger men between the ages of 15 and 49. On the other hand prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men, often affects individuals over the age of 50. Some men are at a higher risk of developing these cancers and both conditions are often without symptoms in the early stages, as such awareness of both and an individual’s risk can lead to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes in many cases.
What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
- Age 15-49 (less common after the age of 50)
- History of undescended testis
- Close relative with a history of testicular cancer or an undescended testicle
- Previous history of testicular cancer.
How to detect testicular cancer early?
It is important that men from an early age self-examine their testicles to know what is normal for them, which should be oval shaped and smooth. If they notice a swelling, lump or any other change in their testicles it is important to seek medical help urgently rather than delaying it. Most lumps in the testicles are benign but a review by a clinician and an ultrasound of the testicles is essential to exclude cancer and reassure patients. On a positive note, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers with a very good prognosis in most patients.
Most men with prostate cancer in the early stages are completely symptom free and as such awareness of risk factors are crucial.
What are the risks factors for prostate cancer?
- Age over 50 (although significantly higher in the 65-75 age group)
- More common in black men and less common in Asian men
- Close relative with history of prostate cancer particularly if diagnosed under the age of 60.
Changes in urinary symptoms are most commonly due to non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. However, any changes in urinary symptoms or blood in the urine should trigger a consultation with the GP or a urologist to assess the risk. Although there is no single non-invasive test to diagnose prostate cancer the clinician may arrange a PSA blood test and referral to a urologist for a multiparametric MRI of the prostate. This will combine several different MRI techniques into a single scan session if there is concern about the presence of prostate cancer. The urologist may also arrange a biopsy of the prostate to exclude prostate cancer.
Many men who are diagnosed with non-aggressive prostate cancer may simply require monitoring. Some prostate cancer which are diagnosed in the early stages but are more aggressive can be cured with treatment. If prostate cancer is diagnosed in the later stages a cure may not be possible and the focus would be on symptom control. As such, early consultation with a healthcare professional will aid early diagnosis which is the key to achieving the best outcome.
Mr Kasra Saeb-Parsy is available in clinic every Tuesday at 9am-1pm at Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital, 4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 8AF. You can book online at nuffieldhealth.com/consultants/mr-kasra-saeb-parsy, call 01223 370922 or email email@example.com.