Testicular cancer makes up 1 percent of the cancers in men in the United States. About 8,000 men are diagnosed and around 390 men die of testicular cancer each year. The rate of testicular cancer in white men has more than doubled in the last 40 years; the rate in black men has only recently started to increase.
Risk factors for testicular cancer are:
- A family history of testicular cancer
- A prior diagnosis of testicular cancer in one testicle
- Being born with abnormalities of the testicles, penis, or kidneys
- Being born with a hernia in the groin area
- Having Klinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder in men caused by having one or more extra X chromosomes)
- Having a testicle that did not move down into the scrotum, also called undescended, before birth. Most men who were born with an undescended testicle will have surgery to move the testicle into the scrotum after birth. However, the risk of testicular cancer does not decrease after surgery and applies to both testicles, not just the one that was undescended.
Currently there is no standard screening test for early detection of testicular cancer. Most often testicular cancers are found by men or through a routine physical. It is important for men to contact a doctor if they notice any of these symptoms:
- Painless lump or swelling in a testicle
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or scrotum
- Any enlargement of a testicle or change in how the testicle feels
- Dull ache in the lower abdomen, back or groin area,
- Feeling of heaviness or collection of fluid in the scrotum
Testicular cancer primarily occurs in men between the ages of 20 and 39 and is the most common form of cancer for men between 15 and 35 years of age. Because men are less likely to seek routine medical care it is important to understand the symptoms of testicular cancer. Although the number of cases of testicular cancer has increased in recent years, more than 96 percent of patients can be cured. Treatment is more successful, less aggressive, and causes fewer side effects the earlier the cancer is found.
For more information about testicular cancer or any cancer concern, contact the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center/Cancer Information Service:
Cancer Information Service
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
UI Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive, 4802 JPP
Iowa City, Iowa 52242