germ cell cancer

Overview

  • A germ cell tumour is a tumour that develops from reproductive cells. They are sperm cells in men and egg cells in women. They usually develop in the testicles or ovaries but can grow in other areas of the body – however, cancers that develop from germ cells in other parts of the body are very rare.
  • The medical name for germ cell tumours that develop outside of the ovaries or testicles (the gonads) is extragonadal germ cell tumour (EGGCT). For example, germ cell tumours can start in the brain, at the back of the abdomen (retroperitoneum) or the chest (mediastinum).
  • The mediastinum is the area in the centre of the chest, between the lungs. It contains the heart, windpipe (trachea), food pipe (oesophagus), large main blood vessels and the lymph nodes that surround the heart. The mediastinum is the most common place for extragonadal germ cell tumours to develop.

Cause

  • Doctors aren’t certain how these germ cell tumours develop in the mediastinum. There are some theories about how the cells get outside the testicle and ovary – these include:
  • The cancer develops from very early cells that became misplaced during our development in the womb
    or
  • The cancer started in the testicle or ovary and spread at a very early stage, but the original cancer has either disappeared or is too small to find

Symptoms

  • Many people with a tumour in the mediastinum don’t have any symptoms. The doctor might spot the tumour on a chest X-ray you had for another reason. If symptoms are present they might include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest
  • A persistent cough
  • Raised temperature
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
germ cell cancer
#TheRCT interview with the the Freeman family

#TeamRCT please watch & share this video – in which the Freeman family talk about our inspiration Rob, his life, diagnosis and passing – and why we set up #TheRCT to raise awareness of germ cell cancers.

Posted by The Robin Cancer Trust on Wednesday, 9 December 2015
What is Germ Cell Cancer?

What is germ cell cancer? If you've got testicles or ovaries then you need to watch this video! Please watch and share to help us raise awareness of this rare form of cancer #TeamRCT ❤️

Posted by The Robin Cancer Trust on Tuesday, 21 March 2017
#TheRCT 5 Years On

#TeamRCT please watch and share our video - #TheRCT 5 Years On - remembering five years since we lost Rob, and celebrating everything we have achieved in his name since; raising awareness, reducing embarrassment and saving lives ❤️

Posted by The Robin Cancer Trust on Wednesday, 14 December 2016