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Testicular cancer forms in the tissues of one or both testicles. Although testicular cancer is not common compared to other types of cancer, it is the most common cancer in males ages 15 to 35 in the U.S. It is one of the most curable types of cancer even when it has spread beyond the testicle.
Testicular Cancer: What You Need to Know
Although there is no way to prevent testicular cancer, some doctors recommend testicular cancer screening if you have risk factors. Talk to your doctor about the options including a testicular self-exam.
Testicular cancer is best managed by a group of specialists that includes urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses and patient support specialists at The University of Vermont Cancer Center. Our physicians and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.
Every patient is unique. You and your family will feel the advantages of personalized, patient-centered care. We optimize your treatment to your specific testicular cancer diagnosis.
Experienced, Trusted Expertise
Our nationally recognized physicians are researchers and teachers who are up-to-date with the latest developments in their fields. We are proud to offer clinical research practices that may one day lead to future cures.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer happens when cells in your testicles grow abnormally and out of control. The buildup of extra cells forms a mass in the testicle. The cancer cells can spread to other parts of your body. The testicles, which make and store sperm, are located in a pouch below the penis called the scrotum.
Testicular cancer can happen in both testicles, but usually affects only one testicle. Most testicular cancers begin in the germ cells, which are the cells that make sperm, and are called testicular germ cell tumors.
A testicular cancer symptom can include:
- A change in the size or shape of one or both testicles
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull pain or pressure in the lower back, abdomen or groin, or in all three places
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Enlarged or tender breasts
In most cases, the exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. However, several factors may increase your risk of developing it, including:
- Age: Testicular cancer can happen at any age, but is most likely to occur in teens and younger men, particularly those between the ages of 15 and 35.
- Race: Testicular cancer is more common in Caucasians.
- Family history: If other males in your family have had testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk.
- An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism): One testicle remains inside the body and has not moved down into the sac beneath the penis (scrotum). Normally the testicles, which form inside the abdomen of an unborn baby boy, descend into the scrotum by the time the baby is born. Sometimes, one or both testicles may not descend. Usually the testicle will descend without treatment by the time the baby is three months old. If this does not happen, a doctor may recommend surgery to move the testicle into the scrotum. There is still a risk of cancer even if the testicle has been surgically relocated to the scrotum.
- Abnormal testicle development: Certain conditions that cause testicles to develop abnormally, such as Klinefelter's syndrome, may increase your risk of testicular cancer.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Testicular Cancer
Learn more about testicular cancer diagnosis and treatment.