What is Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer starts in the testicles, the male reproductive glands present in the scrotum.

Causes of Testicular Cancer

The actual cause of testicular cancer is not known. Vasectomy and testicular cancer are not interrelated. Factors that can pose a risk for testicular cancer may include:

  • Klinefelter symptoms
  • Unusual growth of testicles
  • History of undescended testicle
  • Family history of testicular cancer may catapult the risk
  • Other potential causes encompass exposure to a few chemicals and HIV infection.

Testicular cancer is the disease which is most of time detected in those men falling in the category of 15 to 35 years of age group. It can also be witnessed in aged men, and occasionally, in younger boys.

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

There may be no symptoms. Symptoms that may occur can include:

  • Uneasiness or pain in the testicle, or a sense of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Mild ache in the lower or back abdomen
  • Enlargement of a testicle or a change in the way it feels
  • Over development of breast tissue, however, this can occur generally in adolescent boys who don’t have testicular cancer
  • Swelling or lump in either testicle
  • Symptoms in other body parts like the lungs, pelvis, abdomen, back, or brain, may also be witnessed if the cancer is at an advanced stage.

Exams and Tests

A physical examination generally reveals a firm lump (clump) in either of the testicles. When the health care professional throws a flashlight up to the scrotum, the light does not cross through the lump.

The other tests may encompass:

  • CT scan for abdominal and pelvic
  • Chest x-ray
  • Ultrasound of the scrotum
  • Blood tests for tumor detection: human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta HCG), alpha fetoprotein (AFP) and lactic dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • A biopsy of the tissue is basically done after the removal of the entire testicle through surgery

Treatment of Testicular Cancer

Treatment depends on the:

  • Type of testicular tumor
  • The stage on which the tumor has been detected

Once cancer is diagnosed, the initial step is to detect the kind of cancer cell by analyzing it with a microscope. The cells could be nonseminoma, seminoma, or both.

The second method is to detect how deep the cancer has reached in other parts of the body. This is termed as "staging."

  • Stage I cancer is restricted to the testicle.
  • Stage II cancer can spread to lymph nodes in the stomach.
  • Stage III cancer can go beyond the lymph nodes (it could reach as far as the liver, lungs, or even brain).

There are three types of treatment which can be used.

  1. Surgical approach removes the testicle and surrounding lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). This is basically performed in case of both seminoma and nonseminomas.
  2. Radiation therapy can also be approach in which high-dose of x-rays or other high-energy rays may be used after surgery to curb the tumor from recurring. Radiation therapy is basically only used in case of treating seminomas.
  3. Chemotherapy uses drugs like bleomycin, etoposide or cisplatin to eliminate cancer cells. This treatment has miraculously enhanced survival rates for patients suffering with both seminomas and nonseminomas.

Potential Complications

Testicular cancer may reach other body parts. The most general location may be:

  • Abdomen
  • Retroperitoneal region (the area near the kidneys)
  • Lungs
  • Spine

Complications of surgery may include:

  • Bleeding and infection post surgery
  • Infertility (in case of removal of both the testicles)

To avoid such complications in future if you are of childbearing age you can consult your doctor about processes to preserve your sperm for use at a later date.


The United States Preventive Services Task Force suggests against routine check up for testicular cancer as there is no established, known and proficient screening technology.

A testicular self-examination (TSE) conducted on a monthly basis, although, may enable diagnose such cancer at an early stage before it becomes too complicated. Detecting it early is necessary to successful treatment and leading a healthy life. Young men are often taught how to conduct self-exams immediately after puberty.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Testicular cancer is one of the disorders which is known as treatable cancers.
In men the survival rate is greater than 95% for those who are suffering with early-stage seminoma (the mild kind of testicular cancer). The disease-free survival rate for Stage II and IIIcancers is little lower, based on the growth of the tumor and the detection and start of the treatment.

Role of Support Groups

Being a part of any support group where the group’s members share their conditions and experiences and troubles can often alleviate the stress of illness.

Lance Armstrong, a popular cyclist, is a sufferer and survivor of testicular cancer.


Although testicular cancer is quite common disorder but taking it lightly may cost you dearly, hence it is advisable to diagnose it the moment you witness any given symptoms in you.


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