Testicular Cancer

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles are the male sex glands and produce testosterone and sperm for reproduction. Germ cells within the testicles produce immature sperm that travel through a network of tubules and larger tubes into the epididymis where the sperm mature and are stored. Almost all testicular cancers start in the germ cells. 
The two main types of testicular germ cell tumors are: 
  • Seminoma. Seminoma tumors occur in all age groups, but if an older man develops testicular cancer, it is more likely to be seminoma. Seminomas aren't as aggressive as nonseminomas and more sensitive to radiation.
  • Nonseminoma. Nonseminoma tumors tend to develop earlier in life and grow and spread rapidly. Several different types of nonseminoma tumors exist, including choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and yolk sac tumor.
The following stages are used for testicular cancer: 
  • Stage I. Cancer is limited to the testicle.
  • Stage II. Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen.
  • Stage III. Cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Testicular cancer most commonly spreads to the lungs and liver.
Risk factors
  • Cryptorchidism. Men who have a testicle that never descended are at greater risk of testicular cancer than are men whose testicles descended normally. 
  • Abnormal testicle development. Conditions that cause testicles to develop abnormally may increase your risk of testicular cancer.
  • Family history. If family members have had testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk.
  • Race. Testicular cancer is more common in white men than in black men.
Tests that examine the testicles and blood are used to detect and diagnose testicular cancer. Tests include:
  • Physical exam and history: The testicles will be examined to check for lumps, swelling, or pain. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Ultrasound exam are used to form a picture of internal tissues or organs. 
  • Serum tumor marker test: A procedure in which a sample of blood is examined to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs, tissues, or tumor cells in the body. 
  • Inguinal orchiectomy: A procedure to remove the entire testicle through an incision in the groin. A tissue sample from the testicle is then viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If cancer is found, the cell type (seminoma or nonseminoma) is determined in order to help plan treatment.
Most testicular cancers can be cured, even if they are diagnosed at an advanced stage. However, treatment can cause infertility by decreasing the amount of sperm made by the body.
  • In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 8,850 new cases of testis cancer and an estimated 410 people will die of this disease.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15-34 years of age. 
  • It accounts for about 1% of all cancer in men, with approximately 7,400 cases diagnosed in the United States every year.
testicular cancer about

  • "Testicular Cancer." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Apr. 2017. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • "Testicular Cancer." National Cancer Institute. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 July 2016. Web. 15 May 2017.
  • "Testicular Cancer." Testicular Cancer | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Health System, n.d. Web. 15 May 2016.


It's important to get a routine annual physical exam by your physician, but for men, additional tests should be done to screen for diseases and other conditions. Depending on a patient’s medical and family history, a doctor can specifically determine which tests a man should have and how often to have them. The following is an overview of common exams men should seriously consider.
common wellness exams men should have


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