Testicular cancer refers to cancer of the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum (the loss bag of skin underneath the penis). The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.

Although compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare; it is most common in American males between the ages of 15 and 49.  

The most common symptoms of testicular cancer are a painless lump or swelling in the testicles, as well as a feeling of heaviness.

Treatment options for testicular cancer depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as an individual’s overall health. Regular testicular self-examinations are recommended to help identify any unwanted growths early and give the highest chances of successful treatment.



Testicular cancer usually affects only one testicle. Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • A lump in either testicle
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
  • An accumulation of liquid in the scrotum
  • Tenderness of the breasts
  • Back pain



The exact cause of testicular cancer remains unclear.

Doctors know that testicular cancer occurs when healthy cells in the testicle become distorted and being to grow and divide out of control. The accumulating cells form a mass in the testicle. Nearly all testicular cancers begin in the germ cells (the cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm); however, what causes the germ cells to change abnormally and develop into cancer is not known.



Risk factors

Factors that can increase the risk of developing testicular cancer include:

  • Having a family history of testicular cancer
  • Having an abnormal testicle development (Klinefelter’s syndrome)
  • Being born with an undescended testicle
  • Being of Caucasian race
  • Being of ages 15-35 (teens and younger men)



Treatment options for testicular cancer depend on the type and stage of the cancer, an individual’s overall health and their preferences. Surgical procedures used to treat testicular cancer include the following:

  • Radical inguinal orchiectomy: A surgical procedure which involves the removal of the affected testicle.
  • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: A surgical procedure which involves the removal of nearby lymph nodes.

In cases of early-stage testicular cancer, surgery may be the only treatment needed. Other treatment methods used to ensure that the cancer is destroyed completely and there are no chances for reoccurrence include:

  • Radiation therapy: The use of high powered beams of energy (X-rays) to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery. This type of therapy is used in individuals who have seminoma type of testicular cancer. Possible side effects include: skin redness and irritation in the abdominal and groin areas, tiredness and infertility.
  • Chemotherapy: The use of anti-cancerous drugs to kill cancer cells. This type of therapy is recommended before or after lymph node removal surgery. Possible side effects include: tiredness, nausea, hair loss, infection and infertility. 


Although there is no way to prevent testicular cancer from developing, there are certain measures that can be taken to identify unwanted growths and testicular cancer at its earliest stage. There measures include:

  • Self examination
  • Making an appointment for regular testicle examinations with a medical professional