What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in male reproductive organs known as testes or testicles. Two types of cancer can develop in the testicles: seminomas, which often grow slowly, and nonseminomas, a group of other tumors made up of different cell types, which may grow more quickly.

Testicular cancer usually responds well to treatment and is often curable. It tends to occur in younger men (between the ages of 15 and 34). Although it is the most common cancer in men in this age group, it is relatively uncommon overall. Around 8,000 men are diagnosed each year with testicular cancer in the United States (Source: ACS).

The testicles start development in the abdomen but descend into the scrotum before birth. Abnormalities in development, such as a lack of testicular descent, abnormalities of the kidneys, penis, or testicles, or the presence of a hernia in the groin at birth seem to increase the risk of testicular cancer. Although undescended testicles can be surgically moved to the scrotum, this does not reduce the risk of testicular cancer.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on the testicle. Once diagnosed, treatment will depend on the type of cancer that is present and how much the disease has spread, but it often involves surgical removal of the testicle, possibly with removal of nearby lymph nodes, as well. Treatment may also involve radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

It is unusual for testicular cancer or its complications to create medical emergencies, but if there is any suspicion of testicular cancer, an evaluation should occur without delay. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms, such as a lump on the testicle, an enlarged or swollen testicle, testicular pain, a full sensation in your scrotum, or any other symptoms that cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on the testicle. Pain may occur but is not as common. The affected testicle may be enlarged or swollen, and there may be a sensation of fullness in the scrotum. Testicular cancer that has spread to other areas of the body may have symptoms related to the sites to which it has spread.... Read more about testicular cancersymptoms

CAUSES

What causes testicular cancer?

It is not known what causes testicular cancer, but undescended testicles and other abnormalities present at birth increase the risk of developing it. Testicular cancer is more common in men who have relatives with testicular cancer or who have had it themselves.... Read more about testicular cancercauses

TREATMENTS

How is testicular cancer treated?

Caught early, testicular cancer is often curable. Even if it has started to spread, testicular cancer may be curable with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.... Read more about testicular cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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