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Cancer that forms in tissues of one or both testicles. Testicular cancer is most common in young or middle-aged men. Most testicular cancers begin in germ cells (cells that make sperm) and are called testicular germ cell tumours.
Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles.
The testicles are 2 egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly below the penis). The testicles are held within the scrotum by the spermatic cord, which also contains the vas deferens and vessels and nerves of the testicles.
Anatomy of the male reproductive and urinary systems, showing the testicles, prostate, bladder, and other organs.
The testicles are the male sex glands and produce testosterone and sperm. Germ cells within the testicles produce immature sperm that travel through a network of tubules (tiny tubes) and larger tubes into the epididymis (a long coiled tube next to the testicles) where the sperm mature and are stored.
Almost all testicular cancers start in the germ cells. The two main types of testicular germ cell tumours are seminomas and nonseminomas. These 2 types grow and spread differently and are treated differently. Nonseminomas tend to grow and spread more quickly than seminomas. Seminomas are more sensitive to radiation. A testicular tumour that contains both seminoma and nonseminoma cells is treated as a nonseminoma.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 20 to 35 years old.
Testicular granulosa cell tumours are rare sex cord- stromal tumours. As compared with their ovarian counterparts, these tumours may follow a more aggressive course because the proportion of malignant cases is higher. tumours of sex cord/gonadal stroma are exceedingly rare tumours that, in large series, account for 1.6–6% of adult testicular tumours and occur somewhat more frequently in children. Leydig and Sertoli cell tumours are most common for the testis, whereas granulosa cell tumours are more common for the ovaries.
NETs in the testes and prostate are usually only found during tests for more common cancers. As with NETs of the female system, testicular and prostatic neuroendocrine cancers can be classified as carcinomas or tumours, depending on how cells look under a microscope.
For more information on testicular NETs, click here for a fact sheet by the NET Patient Foundation (UK).
Anything that increases the chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for testicular cancer include:
These and other symptoms may be caused by testicular cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
tumour marker levels are measured before radical inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy, to help diagnose testicular cancer.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
Testicular cancer can usually be cured.
Certain treatments for testicular cancer can cause infertility that may be permanent. Patients who may wish to have children should consider sperm banking before having treatment. Sperm banking is the process of freezing sperm and storing it for later use.
For more information on Testicular Cancer click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
For information courtesy of Cancer Australia, please click here
Page last updated: 04/05/2020