Testicular Cancer

What is Testicular Cancer?

The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are a pair of male sex glands. They produce and store sperm and are the body’s main source of male hormones. The testicles are located under the penis in a sac-like pouch called the scrotum.

Testicular cancer occurs when cells become cancerous (malignant) in one or both testicles. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), although testicular cancer accounts for only 1 percent of all cancers in men, it is the most common form of cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35.

Types of Testicular Cancer

The two main types of testicular cancer are seminoma and nonseminoma. A testicular cancer can have a combination of both types. Seminomas make up about 30 percent of all testicular cancers. Nonseminomas are a group of cancers that include:

  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Embryonal carcinoma
  • Teratoma
  • Yolk sac tumors

Risk Factors of Testicular Cancer

The causes of testicular cancer are not well known. Factors that may increase the risk of this disease include:

  • Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism). Usually the testicles descend into the scrotum before birth. Men who have a testicle that did not move down into the scrotum are at an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • Abnormal testicular development. If a man’s testicles did not develop normally, he is at an increased risk for developing testicular cancer.
  • Race. Testicular cancer is much more common in white men than in black men.
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome. Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome (a sex chromosome disorder associated with low levels of male hormones, sterility, breast enlargement, and small testes) are at greater risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • History of testicular cancer. Men who have had testicular cancer are at an increased risk of developing this disease in their other testicle.

Common Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

  • A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
  • Any enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or the groin (the area where the thigh meets the abdomen)
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum

Most testicular cancers are found by men themselves; however, doctors generally examine the testicles during routine physical exams. Between regular checkups, if you notice anything unusual, you should talk with your doctor.

Diagnosing Testicular Cancer

Your doctor may order tests to learn more about the cause of your symptoms. These tests include:

Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer

Your will doctor work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your needs. Treatment options for testicular cancer depend on the stage of the disease and the grade of the tumor, how abnormal the cells look and how likely they are to grow or spread.

Below are the most common treatment options for testicular cancer.

Information about…Our services
SurgerySurgical Oncology
Radiation TherapyRadiation Oncology
ChemotherapyHematology Oncology

Additional Resources

You can find out more about testicular cancer by visiting any of the following organizations:

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