Testicular cancer is cancer that starts in the testicles. The testicles are the male reproductive glands located in the scrotum.
The exact cause of testicular cancer is poorly understood.
Factors that may increase a man’s risk of developing testicular cancer are:
• Abnormal testicle development
• Exposure to certain chemicals
• Family history of testicular cancer
• HIV infection
• History of testicular cancer
• History of an undescended testicle (one or both testicles fail to move into the scrotum before birth)
• Klinefelter syndrome
• Tobacco use
• Down syndrome
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young and middle-aged men. It can also occur in older men, and in rare cases, in younger boys.
White men are more likely than African American and Asian American men to develop this type of cancer.
There is no link between vasectomy and testicular cancer.
There are two main types of testicular cancer:
These cancers grow from germ cells, the cells that make sperm.
Seminoma: This is a slow-growing form of testicular cancer found in men in their 40s and 50s. The cancer is in the testes, but it can spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node involvement is either treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Seminomas are very sensitive to radiation therapy.
Nonseminoma: This more common type of testicular cancer tends to grow more quickly than seminomas.
Nonseminoma tumors are often made up of more than one type of cell, and are identified according to these different cell types:
• Choriocarcinoma (rare)
• Embryonal carcinoma
• Yolk sac tumor
A stromal tumor is a rare type of testicular tumor. They are usually not cancerous. The two main types of stromal tumors are Leydig cell tumors and Sertoli cell tumors. Stromal tumors usually occur during childhood.