Bulletins

​ Misdiagnosis of Testicular Cancer

June 16, 2017

Although one of the rarer forms of cancer, it is the most common affecting young men between the ages of 15-49.   You are more at risk of testicular cancer if you suffer from undescended testicles, have a family history of a close relative who suffered from either testicular cancer or undescended testicles, or have had testicular cancer in the past.

There are two main types of testicular cancer:-

  • Seminoma – a tumour made from one type of cell
  • Non-Seminoma – a faster growing tumour than a seminoma, and made from more than one type of cell.  This type is more common between the teen years and early 40’s.

As with all cancers early diagnosis is key and it is therefore very important to be aware of the warning signs and ensure these are checked by your GP.   There are various campaigns aimed at raising awareness and these stress the importance of men checking their testicles on a regular basis for any swellings or lumps.  After a bath or shower, when the skin is relaxed and loose is the best time for this.   Other symptoms can be:-

  • A dull ache in the scrotum
  • A heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • Any difference between the two testicles
  • A change in texture or increase in firmness of a testicle

According to the NHS website on testicular cancer research indicates less than 4% of lumps or swellings are cancerous.   Often the cause is a varicocele (swollen blood vessels), epididymal cyst (a cyst in the tubes around the testicle) or a hydrocele (fluid in the scrotum), all of which are benign causes.  The good news in respect of testicular cancer is that it is extremely curable and when diagnosed you have a good chance of making a full recovery.

Your GP will need to examine your testicles and may refer you for further tests if he thinks this is necessary, for example an ultrasound, or blood tests.  If any of these tests cause suspicion that it might be cancer, then a biopsy will be recommended and the testicle will need to be removed as this is the only definitive way to confirm that it is cancer.  Rest assured, removal of a testicle does not affect your sex life or your ability to have children.

Unfortunately, mistakes are often made and GPs, urologists, or even radiologists can diagnose a benign condition in cases of testicular cancer, mistaking them for other causes of lumps mentioned above.  Once reassured, symptoms are put down to the diagnosed condition and it is often months before a return visit to the GP is made because the problem has not resolved as expected.   By the time a proper diagnosis is made, this can seriously affect the outcome following treatment.    In a tumour that is aggressive and fast-growing, this could mean the difference between a curable condition and a terminal (incurable) condition.   When cancer is diagnosed at a later stage, the treatment tends to be more radical, involving surgery, whereas at an earlier stage less invasive treatment is often used.

If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer and believe that it was misdiagnosed or should have been diagnosed at an earlier stage speak to us and we can advise you on whether you have a potential claim.

Here at Metcalfes we specialise in all medical negligence work and are experienced in dealing with cases involving a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis of cancer.  If you or someone you know has been affected by this or any other situation our specialist team may be able to help. 

Please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

For Further Reading visit:

The NHS Website

The Teenage Cancer Trust

The Cancer Research UK Site

The Macmillan Organisation

 

Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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​  Misdiagnosis of Testicular Cancer

Gillian Clark

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