What is a Seminoma?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A seminoma is a type of testicular cancer. This cancer is extremely responsive to treatment, especially when caught early, and the prognosis for patients can be excellent if they receive appropriate treatment in a timely fashion. Typically, seminomas do not cause any symptoms and are identified when men notice lumps in their testes. People with a history of undescended testicles or testicular cancer are at increased risk for malignant growths like seminomas.

Seminoma arises in the germ cells in the testes.
Seminoma arises in the germ cells in the testes.

This type of tumor arises in the germ cells in the testes. While historically the preferred treatment has been removal of the affected testicle, studies have shown that when seminoma is caught early, radiation or chemotherapy can be just as effective, with no need to remove the testicle. These tumors are highly susceptible to radiation and chemotherapy treatments and should shrink after several sessions. If there is a concern about poor response to treatment, removal of the testicle can be explored as an option.

Testicular self exams are recommended for men to allow them to identify changes indicative of tumors and other health problems. If a lump is identified, medical evaluation can include bloodwork to check on hormone levels, as certain hormones can rise or fall in response to testicular cancers, along with medical imaging studies of the testicle. This information is used to develop a diagnosis and treatment plan.

White men in their 30s and 40s are most at risk of developing seminomas, but these cancers can show up at any age. Management and treatment are essentially the same whether the patient is 15 or 50. A urologist and oncologist can both be involved in cancer treatment to help a man address a seminoma, along with other care providers like nurses. If there are concerns about future fertility, a fertility specialist can be consulted to get additional information.

These tumors grow very slowly. They can spread to the lymph nodes and other regions of the body if they are not identified in time. For this reason, medical imaging studies to look for signs of cancer cells elsewhere in the body are usually recommended for men with seminoma. If the cancer has spread, more aggressive treatment options may need to be pursued to address the cancer. Men can reduce their risk of metastatic seminoma by monitoring their health carefully and making an appointment to see a doctor in the event of any unusual physical changes, to ensure early identification and treatment for cancers.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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