To understand the differences between testicular cancer and prostate cancer you must first understand something about the anatomy of the male reproductive system. Both cancers attack certain parts of the system but they are not the same.
The function of the male reproductive system is to produce sperm cells that will eventually fertilize an egg and the semen or fluid in which the sperm live and swim. In order for the sperm to reach the egg the male system forcibly sends the sperm, within the semen, into the female reproductive system.
The female reproductive system isn’t a friendly environment for the sperm because the pH of the female system is too high for the male sperm. But the semen acts to protect the sperm and provide it with an environment in which they can swim to reach their intended destination.
In the male reproductive system the prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the semen or seminal fluid that both nourishes and transports the sperm. The prostate consists of two lobes that surround the urethra at the neck of the bladder. The semen and the sperm don’t combine until immediately before ejaculation. And when the seminal fluid is released it exits the body through the urethra, the same tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder.
The testicles are two glands that reside inside the scrotum of the male. The scrotum is the sac that hangs behind the penis. Inside this sac are two testicles that produce the sperm which are released during ejaculation with seminal fluid and hormones.
These testicles, also called testes, are heat sensitive. The body helps to adjust the heat which they experience by raising and lowering the scrotal sac. When the male’s body is hot from a shower or exercise the sac hangs lower than when the body is cold or the environment is cold.
Prostate cancer is one of the more common types of cancer that affect men. Current statistics show that it affects one in six men in the U.S. As with most other cancers early diagnosis and treatment will decrease the side effects of treatment and improve the outcome for the men.
Prostate cancer is more common in older males and those who don’t have regular sex than in younger males. However, it isn’t unusual to have the diagnosis in men between 20 and 30 years old. The side effects of treatment can include erectile dysfunction, bladder control problems and urinary problems.
Testicular cancers are cancer cells that grow in the testicles found in the scrotal sac. Compared to other types of cancer, testicular cancer is relatively rare. But it is also the most common type of cancer in men between 15 and 34.
The causes of testicular cancer aren’t known but the cancer is highly treatable even when it has spread beyond the testicle. Depending upon the type and stage of the disease there are several treatments from which the physician may choose. They may also choose a combination of those treatments.
Young men are encouraged to learn early to do self-examinations. These can help to identify growths early when the chance for a successful treatment is at the highest. Self-examinations can be done during a shower when the scrotal sac is at the most relaxed state because of the heat of the shower.
- American Cancer Society: Testicular Cancer
- American Cancer Society: Testicular Cancer Overview
- Scripps: Prostate and Testicular Cancer
- Urology Care Foundation: Testicular Cancer
- University of Washington Urology: Testicular Cancer
- Centers for Disease control and Prevention: Prostate Cancer
- National Cancer Insitute: Prostate Cancer