What are the testicles?

The testicles are male sex glands that produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. The testicles are two walnut-shaped glands inside the scrotum. The scrotum is the sac of skin that lies below the penis.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a disease that occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of a testicle. The development of cancerous cells in both testicles can occur, but is very rare. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 35. The disease usually is curable.

Who gets testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer happens most often in men between the ages of 20 and 35. Some men who had a physical disorder of the testicles when they were young might have a higher risk. However, cancer of the testicles is rare.

Can testicular cancer be cured?

Testicular cancer is very curable. While a cancer diagnosis is always serious, the good news about testicular cancer is that it is treated successfully in 95% of cases. If treated early, that number rises to 98%. Although a man’s risk of getting it is 1 in 263, his chance of dying from the disease is only about 1 in 5,000.

What are the risk factors for developing testicular cancer?

Risk factors for developing testicular cancer include:

  • Undescended testicle(s): This is when one or both testicles do not move down into the scrotum before birth.
  • Race: Non-Hispanic, white men are more likely to develop this cancer than men of other races and ethnicities.
  • Personal or family history: Men with a brother or father who had testicular cancer have an increased risk of developing the condition themselves. Men who have had cancer themselves in one testicle are at increased risk of developing a second cancer in the other testicle.
  • Infertility: Men who are infertile have a higher likelihood of developing testicular cancer. Some of the same factors that result in infertility may also be related to the development of testicular cancer but there is not a good understanding of the connection.

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What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

The following symptoms can be signs of testicular cancer or of another condition. Consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling or a sudden gathering of fluid in the scrotum
  • Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A lump or swelling in either testicle
  • Build-up of fluid on the scrotum
  • Dull ache in the groin or lower abdomen
  • Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or a testicle
  • A shrinking testicle

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