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Germ Cell Tumors

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Germ Cell Tumors

germ cell tumors


Tumors are the abnormal growth of the tissue that forms a lump or a mass. There are many types of tumors, and these can be cancerous or noncancerous. Germ cell tumor is one of them. With the help of modern technology and techniques, it is curable for most now.

Children of any age are susceptible to germ cell tumors. However, the survival rate is 90% if detected early in stage 1. In the second stage, the rate decreases to 87%, and in stage 3, it can be 83%. Proper care and precautions can take you a long way. It may seem small, but it is not. Chemotherapy works very well to cure this. Creating awareness among people about this condition is essential, as this can affect anyone.

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What are Germ Cell Tumors?

Germ cell tumors are the tumors that grow from the reproductive cells. These occur in the ovaries and testicles. Germ cell tumors can form in other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, and rare cases, on the brain and the chest.

It gets its name from the word germinate, which means to come into being and has nothing to do with germs. Germs are not the source of this condition. Mainly, newborn babies get affected by it. The tumor forms in their bodies even before their birth.

Different germ cell tumors exist, and some of them include:

  • ● Teratomas or dermoid cysts
  • ● Germinomas or dysgerminomas
  • ● Yolk sac tumors or endodermal sinus tumor
  • ● Embryonal
  • ● Choriocarcinoma

What Are the Symptoms of Germ Cell Tumors?

Symptoms of germ cell tumors can vary, depending on their time and place. Following common symptoms can be seen in an affected person:

  • Ovarian – An ovarian germ cell tumor is difficult to identify; until it grows and presents with symptoms. There are no signs and symptoms at the early stage; however, there may be swelling in the abdomen when it grows larger.
  • ● This kind of tumor can be detected easily, as it is visible in the scrotum or causes pain.
  • Presacral tumor – These are found in front or above the sacral bone area of the hip. Tumors in a child younger than six months are usually a benign tumor, and an older child can develop a malignant tumor. The symptoms may include difficulty passing urine, difficulty in bowel movements, and difficulty walking.
  • Mediastinum tumor – These tumors are generally in blood vessels, trachea, heart, and thymus. Early symptoms of it are cough, fever, chest pain, and breathing problems.
  • Sacrococcygeal tumor – These tumors develop at the tailbone or the distal end of the spinal column. Doctors can detect it early and treat them. These tumors are the most common congenital tumors.

What Causes Germ Cell Tumors?

There are many reasons for the growth of germ cell tumors, but the cause for the change in the cells is unknown. However, some factors that cause germ cell tumors in the child include:

  • ● Cryptorchidism or undescended testicle is the most prominent cause of germ cell tumor.
  • ● Birth-defects in the urinary tract, genitals, central nervous system, or the lower spine
  • ● Have an extra sex chromosome or missing one
  • ● Family history increases the risk of developing germ cell tumors

How is Germ Cell Tumors Diagnosed?

Once you notice the symptoms, consult a doctor ASAP. Tell the doctors about the symptoms, whether you have back pain, the problem with pubic hair, weakness, sneezing, or anything. Once the doctors comprehend the problem, they will suggest some diagnostic tests.

  • Biopsy – Biopsy is the most effective way to recognize any disease, even in this one. The doctors collect a sample of the tumor and examine it for a germ cell tumor.
  • Blood tests – The easy process to examine this condition is to check your blood samples. It is one of the most reliable methods.
  • CT Scan – Computed tomography is another test to examine the germ cell tumor.
  • Others – Along with these methods, doctors may also ask for MRI, bone scan ultrasound, and X-ray reports to check for germ cell tumor and the extent it has spread.

How is Germ Cell Tumors Treated?

The age of the patient, body weight, tumor stage, previous health issues, immune system, etc., are some of the conditions that affect the germ cell tumor treatment. Once the doctor examines all the factors, he takes his best approach to treat the tumor.

  • Surgery – Sometimes tumors are detected at a crucial stage; doctors opt for surgical treatment to remove the cell as soon as possible.
  • Chemotherapy – Drugs can kill any tumor or cancer. Chemotherapy is a process that uses drugs to kill those tumors. It is indeed a less painful mode of treatment. Two or three chemos will do the job.
  • Rays – The radiation of x-rays can kill tumor cells effortlessly. This way of treating germ cell tumors is inexpensive. However, it works in the early stages only. But in the later stages, it might not help.

What is the outcome of Germ Cell Tumors?

Germ cell tumors can recur or gradually grow in your adulthood as well, even after the treatment. However, modern facilities, technologies, and equipment have made treatment more effective. The best thing is the incidence of the diseases is decreasing simultaneously. Cell tumors are positively curable.

Are there any risks of surgery in Germ Cell Tumors?

Studies prove that out of 100, about 90 children have found a cure in their early stages. Infants are more susceptible to this disease than adults. Several risk factors have an intense effect in increasing the disease, such as:

  • ● Turner Syndrome
  • ● Intersex conditions
  • ● Cryptorchidism

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Is it Common to Get Germ Cell Tumors?

No, it is a rare condition.

What is an Example of a Germ Cell?

It is an egg cell or a sperm cell.

Are Germ Cell Tumors Transferable?

Yes, You can inherit it.

How many Types of Germ Cells are there in Humans?

In Humans, there are two types of Germ Cells, namely:

  • ● Diploid germ cells (DGC)
  • ● Haploid germ cells (HGC)

Are Germ Cell Tumors Genetic?

The exact cause of the disease is not known yet. However, some inherited gene defects can cause Germ Tumor Cells.
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