Testicular cancer

Statistics of testicular cancer

  • For men aged 20-39, testicular cancer is the most common cancer.
  • Today, treatment can cure more than 95% of the cases .
  • Testicular cancer is bilateral in 1-2% of the cases.
  • After recovery from a testicular cancer, the risk of having a cancer on the opposite testicle is 2 to 5% during the next 25 years.
  • The numerous victories of the Tour de France by the famous cyclist Lance Armstrong, several years after the diagnosis of his testicular cancer, has increased the publicity for testicular cancer and represents a great hope for patients.

What causes Testicular cancer?

There is no one cause of testicular cancer, but there some of the risk factors are listed below:
  • A testicle that it not in the scrotum and is what is "undescended". This most commonly happens in young boys if the undescended testicle is not corrected by the age of 11.
  • Testicular atrophy (reduced testicular size and function), which can occur after mumps infection.
  • There is a small increase in risk in men who have had fertility problems.
  • If you have a brother with testicular cancer, it is estimated that you have a 1 in 5 chance of inheriting the same gene that predisposes you to testicular cancer.
  • It is more common in wealthier societies.
  • In the US, testicular cancer is 5 times more common in white men than those who are of black origin.

Types of testicular cancer

There are two types of testicular cancer, called seminomas and non-seminomas, depending on the actual cell type affected.
The treatment for both these types is very similar, so the exact cell types will not make much difference to you.

Signs of testicular cancer

  • Testicular cancer is often discovered by the patient himself. It is usually a painless hard lump, but sometimes it can cause discomfort and enlargement of your scrotum.
  • Cancer can also be discovered fortuitously during a routine medical examination.
  • It is rare for testicular cancer has spread, but if it does metastasize, you may feel small glands around your neck or collarbone. Breathlessness or coughing may be a sign of spread to the lungs which again is uncommon.

Testicular Self-examination

  • It is good practice to examine yourself once a month, after showering or bathing as this is when the scrotal skin is relaxed.
  • Use you fingers and thumb to feel your testicle, holding the scrotum in the palm of your hand.
  • You will feel a soft tube at the back of the testicle and this is normal.
  • It is common for one testicle to be slightly larger or hang a little lower, but they should be approximately of similar size, weight and consistency.

What to do if you find a testicular lump

  • If you are concerned about your GP as soon as possible.
  • Fewer than 4 in 100 testicular lumps found on examination are actually cancer.
  • If necessary, your GP can refer you for an ultrasound scan or directly to a specialist.

Treatment of testicular cancer

  • Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the affected testicle.
  • The tumour can then be examined under the microscope to determine the exact type of tumour, and to plan further treatment (such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy) if needed.
Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.
This document, titled « Testicular cancer », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).