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What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a cancer that develops in the tissues of one or both testicles. The testicles, or testes, are part of the male reproductive system. They make male hormones and sperm. They are two egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum, a sac of loose skin that lies below the penis. You can get cancer in one or both testicles.
Who is most likely to develop testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is very rare. You can get it at any age, but it is most common in men between the ages of 20 and 39. It is also more common in those who:
- Have had abnormal testicle development
- Have had an undescended testicle, a condition in which one or both testicles fail to move into the scrotum before birth
- Have had testicle cancer before
- Have a family history of the cancer
- Are White
What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
The symptoms of testicular cancer may include:
- A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
- A change in how the testicle feels
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen (belly) or the groin (the area where the thigh meets the abdomen)
- A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
To find out if you have testicular cancer, your health care provider may use:
- A physical exam.
- Blood tests.
- An ultrasound of the testicles.
- An inguinal orchiectomy, which is a procedure to remove the entire testicle. A tissue sample from the testicle is viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
What are the treatments for testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer can usually be cured.The treatment options include:
- Surgery (if the testicle has not already been removed during diagnosis).
- Radiation therapy.
- High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant.
- Surveillance, which might be done after surgery. It means that your provider will closely follow your condition with regular exams and tests. You won't get any further treatment unless there are changes in your test results.
Some of the treatments may also cause infertility. If you may want to have children later on, you should consider sperm banking before treatment.
After you have finished your treatment, you will need regular follow-up testing to make sure that the cancer has not come back. If you have had cancer in one testicle, you have a higher risk of getting cancer in the other testicle. So it's important to check the other testicle regularly and let your provider know if you notice any changes or unusual symptoms.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP) Tumor Marker Test (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Can Testicular Cancer Be Found Early? (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Testicular Cancer Screening (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Tests for Testicular Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Tumor Marker Tests (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Ultrasound -- Scrotum (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Chemotherapy for Testicular Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Drugs Approved for Testicular Cancer (National Cancer Institute)
- High-Dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant for Testicular Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Surgery for Testicular Cancer (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer, by Type and Stage (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Testicular Microlithiasis: Is It Linked with Testicular Cancer? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- What Causes Testicular Cancer? (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Testicular Neoplasms (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Parental occupations at birth and risk of adult testicular germ cell...
- Article: Therapeutic effect of sodium alginate on bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP)-induced...
- Article: Half-life of serum anti-Müllerian hormone and changes after gonadectomy in adult...
- Testicular Cancer -- see more articles
- Childhood Testicular Cancer Treatment (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- General Information about Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish