Testicular Cancer

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What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer begins in one or both of the testicles. The testicles are located in the scrotum, the skin "sack" that hangs beneath the penis. Hormones and sperm are produced in the testicles. A normal adult testicle is about the size of a golf ball and is round, smooth and firm.


What are some signs of testicular cancer?

  • A hard, painless lump on the testicle (this is the most common sign)
  • Pain or a dull ache in the scrotum
  • A scrotum that feels heavy or swollen
  • Bigger or more tender in the breast area

Testicular cancer is very treatable if it's found early. See your doctor right away if you notice any of the changes listed above.

Causes & Risk Factors

Who gets testicular cancer?

Cancer of the testicles is rare, but it is the most common cancer in young men (15 to 34 years old). If you are a man, you are more likely to get testicular cancer if you:

  • Are white.
  • Have a father or brother who has or has had testicular cancer.
  • Have a testicle that did not come down into the scrotum (called an undescended testicle). This is true even if surgery was done to remove the testicle or bring it down.
  • Have small testicles or testicles that aren't shaped normally.
  • Have Klinefelter's syndrome (a genetic condition where male infants are born with an extra X chromosome).


How is testicular cancer treated?

If you have testicular cancer, your doctor will likely suggest that the cancerous testicle be surgically removed. Your doctor may also recommend chemotherapy if your cancer is more severe or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.


Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • Will you have to surgically remove my testicle?
  • Will this my affect my ability to have children?
  • If I have cancer in one testicle, is it more likely that I'll get cancer in the other?
  • I have a son. Will he be more likely to get testicular cancer when he gets older?
  • How often should I do a testicular self-examination?
  • After treatment, how often should I come back for a physical examination?
  • How long will my treatment last?


Testicular Cancer by S Kincade, CPT, MC, USA (American Family Physician May 01, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990501ap/2539.html)