Testicular cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in one or both testicles. The testicles are a pair of male sex glands that make and store sperm. The testicles also make male hormones. They are located under the penis in a sac-like pouch called the scrotum.
There are three main types of testicular cancer:
Treatment will vary depending on the cell type.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body (in this case testicular cells) divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread.
The causes of testicular cancer are unknown. However, research shows that certain risk factors are associated with the disease.
These factors increase your chance of developing testicular cancer. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to testicular cancer. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
Once testicular cancer is found, tests may be done to find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. These imaging tests of the body may include:
Surgery requires removing the cancerous testicle. This is done through an incision in the groin. The surgeon may also remove nearby lymph nodes to check for metastasis.
Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy for testicular cancer comes from a machine outside the body that directs radiation at the abdomen.
If you were born with undescended testicles, having surgery to correct this condition may reduce your risk of getting testicular cancer.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend regular screening by a doctor or self-screening in men who do not have any symptoms. However, the American Cancer Society recommends that your doctor at your routine cancer-related check-ups should do a testicular exam. No studies have been done that look at the benefit or harm of screening for testicular cancer. Discuss screening with your doctor, especially if you are at high risk for testicular cancer.
Keep in mind that if you notice any symptoms of testicular cancer, such as a lump or swelling in the testicles, it is important that you see your doctor for an evaluation.
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society
Cancer Care Ontario
Can testicular cancer be found early? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.... . Updated January 19, 2011. Accessed March 2, 2011.
General information about testicular cancer. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ . Accessed July 2, 2008.
United States Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for testicular cancer. United States Preventive Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreve... . Accessed March 2, 2011.
What causes testicular cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org . Updated December 4, 2007. Accessed July 2, 2008.
Walsh TJ, Dall'Era MA, Croughan MS, Carroll PR, Turek PJ. Prepubertal orchiopexy for cryptorchidism may be associated with lower risk of testicular cancer. J Urol . 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 1):1440-6; discussion 1446.
3/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php : Ilic D, Misso M. Screening for testicular cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2011;(2):CD007853.
2/1/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: American College of Radiology. ACR Appropriateness Criteria. 2012; Jun 16. Available at
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June, 2012. Accessed February 2, 2013.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013