Testicular Cancer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

April is testicular cancer awareness month! Join us as we explore a variety of issues on this important health topic.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a cancer that originates in one or both testicles, or testes, which are responsible for producing sperm and the hormone testosterone.

Testicular cancer most often begins with changes in the cells in one’s testicles that produce sperm, called germ cells. Germ cell tumors account for more than 90 percent of testicular cancers.

There are two main types of germ cell tumors:

  • Seminomas are testicular cancers that grow slowly. They’re usually confined to the testes, but lymph nodes may also be involved.
  • Nonseminomas are the more common form of testicular cancer. This type is faster growing and may spread to other parts of the body.

Testicular cancer can also occur in the tissues that produce hormones. These tumors are called gonadal stromal tumors.

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men ages 15 to 35, but it can occur at any age. It’s also one of the most treatable cancers, even if it’s spread to other areas.

According to the American Cancer Society, for those with testicular cancer in early stages, the five-year survival rate is greater than 95 percent.

Risk factors for testicular cancer

Some risk factors that can increase one’s risk of developing testicular cancer include:

  • A family history of the disease
  • Abnormal testicular development
  • Being of Caucasian descent
  • Having an undescended testicle, which is called cryptorchidism

Symptoms of testicular cancer

Some men show no symptoms when diagnosed with testicular cancer. When symptoms do appear, they can include:

  • Testicular pain or discomfort
  • Testicular swelling
  • Lower abdominal or back pain
  • Enlargement of breast tissue

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

How is testicular cancer diagnosed?

The tests a doctor may use to diagnose testicular cancer include:

  • A physical exam, which can reveal any testicular abnormalities, such as lumps or swelling
  • An ultrasound to examine the internal structure of the testicles
  • Blood tests—called tumor marker tests—which may show elevated levels of substances related to testicular cancer, like alpha-fetoprotein or beta-human chorionic gonadotropin

If your doctor suspects cancer, your entire testicle may need to be removed to obtain a tissue sample. This can’t be done when your testicle is still in the scrotum because doing so can cause cancer to spread through the scrotum.

Once the diagnosis has been made, tests such as pelvic and abdominal CT scans will be done to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. This is called staging.

Treating testicular cancer

There are three general categories of treatments used for testicular cancer. Depending on the stage of your cancer, you may be treated with one or more options.


Surgery is used to remove one or both of your testicles and some surrounding lymph nodes to both stage and treat cancer.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be administered externally or internally.

External radiation uses a machine that aims the radiation at the cancerous area. Internal radiation involves the use of radioactive seeds or wires placed into the affected area. This form is often successful in treating seminomas.


Chemotherapy uses medication to kill cancer cells. It’s a systemic treatment, which means it can kill cancer cells that have traveled to other parts of your body. When it’s taken orally or through the veins, it can travel through your bloodstream to kill cancer cells.

In very advanced cases of testicular cancer, high-dose chemotherapy may be followed by a stem cell transplant. Once the chemotherapy has destroyed the cancer cells, the stem cells are administered and develop into healthy blood cells.

Complications of testicular cancer

Though testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer, it can still spread to other parts of your body. If one or both testicles are removed, your fertility may also be affected. Before treatment begins, ask your doctor about your options for preserving your fertility.

The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.

  • Wade Lannon Allen
    Posted at 19:19h, 20 June


  • Yvonne G
    Posted at 22:52h, 18 May

    Good info

  • Elizabeth Fogleman
    Posted at 20:06h, 09 May

    Good information on what to watch for and what are risk factors.

  • Jeff Chadwick
    Posted at 23:05h, 07 May

    Thanks for the info

  • Edwin Claunch
    Posted at 16:05h, 02 May

    Valuable information

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 02:34h, 26 April

    Good info!

  • Ethel Searles
    Posted at 16:26h, 24 April

    Thanks for the valuable information.

  • Irene Durr
    Posted at 19:15h, 18 April

    Important information for men

  • Irene Durr
    Posted at 19:14h, 18 April

    Good information

  • David Morris
    Posted at 00:34h, 18 April

    Good information on testicular cancer.

  • Cheryl Grose
    Posted at 14:09h, 16 April

    Good information

  • Charles Calloway
    Posted at 12:42h, 16 April


  • Jim Cosby
    Posted at 10:03h, 16 April


  • Pam Wells
    Posted at 18:24h, 15 April

    Very helpful Information

  • Henry Hina
    Posted at 15:04h, 15 April

    Thank you for an informative synopsis on this important subject.

  • Jennifer Dvorshock
    Posted at 12:52h, 15 April

    Thank you

  • Kim Laible
    Posted at 21:25h, 14 April

    Important info to know ThankYou

  • Daisy
    Posted at 20:17h, 14 April

    Thank you for this information.

  • James Hoit
    Posted at 15:31h, 12 April

    This has truly scared me. I used to hate when the doctor did his check, but now I look forward to it.

  • Jashelyn Alexander
    Posted at 12:46h, 12 April

    Very informative

  • Larry Jackson
    Posted at 22:56h, 11 April

    Thank you for this info

  • steve plum
    Posted at 17:36h, 11 April

    very informative

  • Amanda McCord
    Posted at 02:58h, 11 April

    Thank you I. Can have my husband read this

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