Short Answer: Yes, asbestos exposure has been linked to testicular cancer. Early detection is key to treatment, so keep reading to learn about symptoms and treatment of testicular cancer and its connection to asbestos exposure.
The Link Between Asbestos Exposure and Testicular Cancer
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, capable of causing serious medical conditions up to and including different kinds of cancer. While mesothelioma is among the most common asbestos-related diseases, exposure can cause or contribute to other potentially life-threatening illnesses, including cancer of the testicles.
The Medical Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a term used to refer to six different types of naturally occurring minerals.
Left undisturbed, asbestos is not inherently dangerous. After all, many American homes still contain asbestos, and experts do not believe that the mere presence of asbestos materials puts people at risk for serious injury or diseases. In fact, most people who are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases spent years working with the mineral.
However, asbestos products pose an incredible risk when they break down, crumble, or degrade. Ordinary people—people who have never worked with asbestos—could still contract asbestos-related conditions including asbestosis and mesothelioma if they ever inhaled significant amounts of asbestos fiber.
The Hazards of Inhaling or Swallowing Microscopic Asbestos Fibers
If someone inhales asbestos fibers, the fibers could enter their lungs and infiltrate their respiratory system. Over time, these fibers could accumulate, creating serious and potentially lethal medical complications.
Asbestos exposure has been tied to injuries, disorders, and diseases including but not limited to:
- Pleural plaques
- Pleural effusions
- Lung cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
Emerging evidence suggests that, while such cases are rare, asbestos exposure could also cause testicular cancers.
Asbestos Exposure and Testicular Cancer
Asbestos exposure has been linked to several cancers of the testicles. However, it is important to differentiate between conditions.
Testicular cancers are typically categorized as either:
A seminoma is a slow-growing cancer that begins in germ cells and is most often identified in middle-aged men. Here, “germ cell” does not refer to any external virus or bacteria but the type of cell that helps form sperm. Although seminomas start in the testes, they could spread to nearby lymph nodes and adversely affect other parts of the body.
Non-Seminomas refer to a comparatively rapid-growing cancer that can be further subdivided into four types. Just like seminomas, non-seminomas are often caused by germ cell mutations. However, non-seminomas are significantly more likely to affect younger men.
There is little—if any—evidence to suggest that asbestos exposure directly causes either type of testicular cancer. However, some researchers believe that other toxic substances, including PFAS, could cause or contribute to testicular cancer. So, while asbestos exposure is most likely not a primary risk factor for testicular cancer, it could still increase an individual’s lifetime risk.
If you have a prior history of asbestos exposure and have experienced any of the symptoms associated with testicular cancer, you should contact your health care provider to discuss your options and further testing and treatment.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles. Compared to other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. However, it is the most diagnosed cancer for men between the ages of 15 and 35.
While testicular cancer can be life-threatening, it tends to be easier to treat than other cancers. The symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump or enlargement in one or both testicles
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Dull aches or pains in the abdomen
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle
- Back pain
If you, or a loved one, have experienced any of these symptoms:
- Do not panic. Testicular cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses. The symptoms associated with testicular cancer are not unique to the disease. Common non-cancerous conditions, including ependymitis and several sexually transmitted diseases, have similar symptoms.
- Seek immediate medical attention. While testicular cancer is uncommon, any lump in the scrotum is still cause for some concern. Only a physician can offer an accurate diagnosis.
When testicular cancer is properly identified and treated, it has one of the most positive prognoses of all cancers: an estimated 95% of men with testicular cancer will survive for at least 5 years after the initial diagnosis, provided the cancer does not spread beyond the testicles.
Mesothelioma is a common asbestos-related cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin tissue that protects many of the body’s major organs. If someone inhales significant amounts of asbestos dust, the fibers could infiltrate their respiratory system and penetrate the mesothelium. While mesothelioma most often affects the lungs, it could also be identified in:
- The heart (pericardial mesothelioma)
- The abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma)
- The testicles (testicular mesothelioma)
Testicular mesothelioma is extraordinarily rare, and scientists do not completely understand how asbestos fibers might travel from the lungs or pleural lining to the “tunica vaginalis,” the porous membrane covering the testes.
Early Detection is Key to Treatment of Testicular Mesothelioma
Just like testicular cancer, testicular mesothelioma has a high survival rate, with about half of all diagnosed patients living beyond 5 years.
However, testicular mesothelioma does not have any unique, telltale signs. Its common symptoms include:
- A mass inside the testicle
- Accumulations of fluid inside one or both testicles
- Testicular swelling
- General testicular pain
Since the symptoms of testicular mesothelioma overlap not only with testicular cancer but many other male genital-related conditions, testicular mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed. If physicians cannot accurately diagnose the disease, then patients may suffer poorer health outcomes and survival rates.
Common Testicular Cancer and Testicular Mesothelioma Treatments
Asbestos-related illnesses like testicular mesothelioma are often diagnosed late in life. When a physician identifies malignant testicular mesothelioma or another, potentially life-threatening disease, their treatment options are often limited by the patient’s age and the presence of other medical conditions.
If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with testicular mesothelioma or another cancer you believe could be related to prior asbestos exposure, your doctor could order treatments such as:
- Surgery. While surgery is a common response to mesothelioma, your doctor’s approach to the tumor depends on its location and whether the cancer has spread. A surgeon could remove an entire lung and target any affected organs and tissue; conversely, they might spare the lung while trying to remove suspected cancerous growths.
- Chemotherapy. Mesothelioma treatments often combine conventional chemotherapy with medication such as pemetrexed and cisplatin.
- Radiation. Radiotherapy attacks cancerous growths with X-ray beams. Over time, these beams could degrade or even destroy a tumor.
- Tumor treating fields. A tumor treating field uses alternating electrical currents to disrupt the spread and growth of cancer cells. When used in combination with medication, T.T.F.s can reduce cancerous cell counts.
Have You Been Hurt By Mesothelioma?
The Law Offices of Justinian C. Lane, Esq.-PLLC has a deep-seated commitment to assisting the victims of the asbestos industry.
Unlike many other law firms, we understand exactly what it is like to lose a loved one to mesothelioma. Our founder, Justinian C. Lane, lost his father and his grandparents to asbestos-related cancers. When they passed away, nobody in Justinian’s family knew they could have claimed compensation to help pay their remaining medical bills and funeral costs.
We have seen first-hand the toll mesothelioma takes on individuals and families–which is why we are dedicated to helping others not only get the compensation they need but the justice they deserve.
The Law Offices of Justinian C. Lane does not believe in charging potential clients who may be deep in grief. We offer free consultations: in person, over the phone, video call, and even email. And when we accept a new case, we do not ask our clients to pay for our services. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we cover the costs associated with litigation. We only get paid if we win, and we only take our payment as a percentage of the settlement.
Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for people injured and killed by asbestos exposure. We could help you, too.
While every asbestos case is different, we are driven by a sense of justice and aim to deliver justice for clients, whatever that might mean to them.
Contact Us Today
Please contact us online or call us at 833-4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
If you may have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your healthcare provider about tests and screening to help detect the presence of asbestos fibers and asbestos-related damage.
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