Greater Boston Urology Blog

12 Important Facts About Testicular Cancer

It's November, which is all about raising awareness regarding important men's health issues. Today, we're going to shine the light on testicular cancer.

As with all content on our blog, the following information is educational in nature, not medical advice. If you or someone you love is experiencing issues with the testicles or scrotum, talk to a urologist.

12 Important Facts About Testicular Cancer

1. As the name suggests, testicular cancer is cancer that starts in one or both testicles. Testicles have two functions: They make male hormones, such as testosterone, and they make sperm, which is needed for fertilization. [Source: American Cancer Society]

2. While testicular cancer can occur at any age, it's most common in young or middle-aged men. [Source: National Cancer Institute]

3. Testicular cancer can have various symptoms—and sometimes no symptoms at all. Symptoms include (but are not limited to) a painless lump in the testicle, swelling of the testicle, scrotum pain or discomfort, lower abdominal/groin pain, changes to the way the testicle or scrotum feels, and changes to male breast tissue. It's important to note that these symptoms can indicate other medical conditions, such as infection or even a hernia. [Source:]

4. Many men with testicular cancer don't experience pain right away, which is why it's essential to get checked ASAP if you notice any changes to your testicles or scrotum. Unfortunately, most men wait about five months (on average) before speaking up, which can give the cancer time to grow/spread. [Source: Urology Care Foundation]

5. Types of testicular cancer include germ cell tumors (GCTs); carcinoma in situ (CIS), which is also called intratubular germ cell neoplasia in situ (GNCIS); and gonadal stromal tumors. [Source: American Cancer Society]

6. More than 90% of testicular cancer will start in germ cells. [Source: American Cancer Society]

7. Gonadal stromal tumors make up less than 5% of adult testicular tumors, but up to 20% of childhood testicular tumors. [Source: American Cancer Society]

8. Intratubular germ cell neoplasia in situ (GNCIS) doesn't typically present with any symptoms, like a lump, and is often discovered incidentally during an infertility exam. [Source: American Cancer Society]

9. Risk factors for testicular cancer include having a brother or father who had testicular cancer, having testes that didn't descend before birth, or having abnormal cells in the testicle called germ cell neoplasia in situ (GNCIS). [Source: Urology Care Foundation] Other risk factors include having had testicular cancer before, having HIV, body size, and being a certain race/ethnicity. [Source: American Cancer Society]

10. Keep in mind that having a risk factor doesn't mean the person will develop testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society is quick to point out that "Most boys and men with testicular cancer don't have any of the known risk factors." [Source: American Cancer Society]

11. The type and stage of the cancer will determine the treatment. Treatments for testicular cancer can include surveillance (watchful waiting), surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. [Source: Urology Care Foundation]

12. Early detection is important! Know your risks and perform monthly self-checks. As the Urology Care Foundation reports, surgery plus chemo or radiation (alone or combined) can cure almost 100% of low stage or early disease tumors and at least 85% of more advanced tumors. [Source: Urology Care Foundation]

You know your body better than anyone. If something feels off, get checked.

We know how stressful experiencing any symptoms of testicular cancer can be. Let us help. Make an appointment with a urologist so you can discuss your concerns and get checked. Early action makes a difference.

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