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Is Chemotherapy The Best Treatment For Testicular Cancer?

2622 words - 11 pages

1.1 The problem
In the UK, each year around 2,200 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer and about 70 British males die each year from this cancer [1]. The cancer strikes young to middle-aged men worldwide, and now the diagnoses rates are increasing worldwide. In 2011, there were 68 deaths from testicular cancer in the UK, most of the deaths were in men aged 15-49(57%), so this cancer is an age related problem for men. However the remission rates are quite high, in 2009 the remission rate of men in the UK aged 15-99 was 96% due to the effective treatments that the NHS offer to the cancer patients. However it cost the NHS thousands of pounds, there is no sustained figure to produce a price of the treatments as it impossible to say due to different cases needing different treatments which will have different prices [2].

Symptoms of testicular cancer [3]:
 1 in 5 men will have a sharp pain the scrotum as the first symptom. Some men may have an ache in the affected testicle or lower abdomen.
 The scrotum may feel heavy, due to the cancer being a solid lump which weighs the scrotum down.
 Sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum.
 Painless lump on either testicle. If it was detected early the size should be of a pea, however it will grow bigger. Testicular cancer is caused by the cells becoming malignant in one or both of the testicles.

The painless lump is an issue as men won’t be able to feel the lump, so therefore if left undiagnosed it will grow, and kill the man, the symptoms are different to men in different cases so men might not know if they have it until it may be too late.. The cost of the cancer is not all financial as most of the diagnosed patients with testicular cancer are 15- 45 years old, so these men are in the bracket where they want to have children. Testicular cancer causes infertility in men, due to the cancer causing low sperm count in the testicles. There is a significant link between testicular cancer, and infertility, as the some treatments will involve losing one or both of the testicles. Which will cause worry for the men, as they will not have children, and the consequences may involve divorce in couples who cannot handle not bearing children. If left in the long term alone, it will kill the man.

1.2 The solution of REIC/Dkk-3 as a genetic treatment for human testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is caused by an array of things, such as men who born with undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is a cause of testicular cancer, another can be family history, whereas a male who's close relative who had testicular cancer may develop it himself compared to other men. But the majority of cancer (90-95%), is from germinal cells, and are mainly classified as seminoma, and non-seminomatous germ cell tumours
The Study
A study by Dr. Tanimoto, in Okayama University has looked into using the gene REIC/Dkk-3 as a potential gene therapeutic agent against male testicular cancer. The study involved mice, whose...

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