Overview

of Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancers are relatively rare but highly curable, and occur predominantly in young and middle aged males. Testicular cancers were among the first types of cancers to be cured by radiation and/or chemotherapy, and treatment has been refined over the last several decades. Currently, the majority of all patients are curable regardless of the extent of cancer and cure rates approach 100% for earlier stage cancers. Thus, all treatment of testicular cancer is delivered with the intent to cure. However, it is important to know the extent of cancer and the specific type of testicular cancer in order to administer the best therapy.1,2

The testicles are located inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly under the penis). The testicles are similar to the ovaries in women. Sperm and male hormones are made in the testicles. Testicular cancer—also called germ cell cancer—occurs in the tissues of one or both testicles. Similar cancers called “non-gonadal germ cell cancers” can also occur outside the testicle; non-gonadal germ cell cancers are not discussed in this section.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15 to 35 years old. Men who have an undescended testicle (a testicle that has never moved down into the scrotum) are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men whose testicles have moved normally down into the scrotum. This is true even if surgery has been performed early in life to place the testicle in the appropriate place in the scrotum.1

Next: Symptoms & Signs of Testicular Cancer

References


1 American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2017.

2 Ries LAG, Melbert D, Krapcho M, et al.: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2005. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, 2007