What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a disease in which cancer grows in one or both testicles. The testicles are two egg-shaped glands that produce testosterone (male hormone) and sperm. The testicles are located below the penis inside a sac of loose skin called the scrotum.
Testicular cancer: one of the most curable types of cancers
This is the most common cancer in men age 15-40, but can occur at any age. The treatment approach depends on the type of testicular cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the testicle (stage of cancer).
Risk factors for testicular cancer include:
- Having family members with testicular cancer
- Abnormal development of the testicles
- History of undescended testicle
- Being white
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the environment, such as polyvinylchloride and phthalates
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms for testicular cancer include:
- Painless lump or swelling in either testicle (most common)
- Dull ache in the lower abdomen or the groin
- Sudden build-up of swelling in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
- Back pain
Testicular cancer is diagnosed by having a testicular exam, an ultrasound (painless) and blood tests.
If you think you have testicular cancer...
First, don't panic. Then, don't delay seeing a doctor — early-stage testicular cancer can often be treated with surgery alone, reducing the need for other treatments that may have longer-term effects on your health. If you think you have signs or symptoms of testicular cancer, it is important that you contact your doctor.
Because testicular cancer is rare, it is important to be evaluated by an experienced team with special expertise and knowledge of testicular tumors. If you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center's entire team of testicular cancer experts will work together to determine what treatment is best for you.
Find out more about
testicular cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
Learn how to do a self-exam from the video below, courtesy of the
Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation.