Most testicular cancers start in the germ cells of the testicles, which is where immature sperm are produced. The two main types of testicular cancer are known as seminomas and nonseminomas.
Though cancer is most often a problem among older people, testicular cancer is unique in that it primarily afflicts younger men. The typical time frame when men develop testicular cancer is from 20 to 35 years of age.
Testicular cancer is quite rare, and when detected, it is highly treatable.
Causes and Symptoms
Problems with the growth of the testicles increase the risk for testicular cancer. This may include an undescended testicle or abnormal development of the testicles. A personal or family history of testicular cancer also increases risk, and white males have a greater chance than other men of developing the disease.
Possible symptoms of testicular cancer include pain, swelling and a lump in the testicles. Some men experience pain in the groin or abdomen, a buildup of fluid in the scrotum or just a general change in how the testicle feels.
Treatment of Testicular Cancer
The main treatment for testicular cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous testicle or testicles, as well as follow-up treatments of radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill any cancerous cells left in the surrounding tissue. In some cases, a high dose of chemotherapy paired with a stem cell transplant is another option.
Testicular cancer can usually be cured through treatment. However, a potential side effect of the treatment can be infertility. Men who may want children later in life sometimes opt to preserve their sperm in a sperm bank before the procedure.
SOURCES: U.S. National Cancer Institute; American Cancer Society