About Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles.
The testicles are two egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum. They are held within the scrotum by the spermatic cord, which also contains the vas deferens and vessels and nerves of the testicles.
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 tumors are seminomas and nonseminomas. These two 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 tumor 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.
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by testicular cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
- A change in how the testicle feels
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen or the groin
- A sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
Risk factors for testicular cancer include:
- Having had an undescended testicle
- Having had abnormal development of the testicles
- Having a personal history of testicular cancer
- Having a family history of testicular cancer (especially in a father or brother)
- Being white