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What is testicular cancer?

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Testicular cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in one or both of a man's testicles. While rare, it is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 40. Each year, approximately 7,000 to 8,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the U.S., and approximately 400 men die.

Cancer develops when cells begin to grow out of control. As these abnormal cells rapidly grow and develop, they invade and destroy healthy tissues and organs in the body.

Young men most at risk.
Testicular cancer most often affects men between the ages of 15 and 40. However, men of any age, including infants and the elderly can develop testicular cancer.

A growing problem.
The incidence (the number of new cases diagnosed per year) of testicular cancer in white men in the U.S. has doubled over the last two decades. The cause of the increase is not known.

Highly treatable, especially when caught early.
Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer. The overall 5-year survival rate is approximately 95%. However, the complexity of treating the disease greatly increases and the survival rate declines as the disease progresses. Unfortunately, half of all men diagnosed with testicular cancer do not seek medical attention until after the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

View and download National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet
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What are the Risk Factors?

Most cases of testicular cancer occur in young (15-40), white, men. However, it's important to remember that any man, regardless of age or race, can develop testicular cancer.

Research has not shown a connection between testicular cancer and any particular habits, activities, or lifestyles. Other factors that are associated with a higher risk of testicular cancer include:

Race.
White men are approximately five times as likely as African-American men and twice as likely as Asian-American men to develop testicular cancer. Native American and Hispanic men have a greater risk than African-American men, but lower than white men.

Undescended or Partially Descended Testicle (cryptorchidism).
Men who have an undescended or partially descended testicle have a risk of developing testicular cancer, even if surgery was performed to remove the testicle or bring it down into the scrotum. About 14% of cases of testicular cancer occur in men with a history of cryptorchidism.

Abnormal testicular development.
Men whose testicles did not develop normally are at increased risk.

Klinefelter's syndrome.
Men with Klinefelter's syndrome (a sex chromosome disorder that may be characterized by low levels of male hormones, sterility, breast enlargement, and small testes) are at greater risk of developing testicular cancer.

Family History.
Having a father or brother with testicular cancer increases your risk for developing the disease. Having small testicles or testicles that are not shaped correctly may increase your chances for this form of cancer.