Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.
More than 90% of cancers of the testicle start in cells known as germ cells. These are the cells that make sperm. The main types of germ cell tumors (GCTs) in the testicles are seminomas and non-seminomas.
Tumors can also start in the supportive and hormone-producing tissues, or stroma, of the testicles. These tumors are known as gonadal stromal tumors. They make up less than 5% of adult testicular tumors, but up to 20% of childhood testicular tumors.
Most often, the first symptom of testicular cancer is a lump on the testicle, or the testicle becomes swollen or larger. Most of the time, testicular cancers don't cause pain. Males with testicular cancer can also have a feeling of heaviness or aching in the lower belly (abdomen) or scrotum.
Sometimes, testicular cancer can cause breast growth or early puberty in boys.
A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like your age or family history, can’t be changed.
But having a risk factor, or even several risk factors does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may have few or no known risk factors. For testicular cancer, risk factors include:
Testicular cancer is highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments or a combination. Regular testicular self-examinations can help identify growths early when the chance for successful treatment of testicular cancer is highest.
Possible treatments include: