The testes are the two male sex organs that produce and store semen as well as the hormone testosterone. They are located in the scrotum. Testicular cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in the testes. It is highly treatable if detected early.
While not very common, the disease affects mostly young white males between the ages of 15 and 35.
There are two subtypes of testicular cancer. Seminoma (germ cell) tumors account for 40% of all testicular cancers. Nonseminoma subtypes, which are more aggressive, account for the rest, and include teratocarcinoma and embryonal cell carcinoma.
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The exact causes of testicular cancer are unknown. Factors that may increase a man’s risk of testicular cancer, however, include a family history of the disease; the genetic disorder Klinefelter syndrome, which results in two or more X chromosomes; or an undescended testicle (cryptorchidism).
There are many symptoms of testicular cancer, but the most common include:
Many men find testicular cancer themselves during self-examination, though a physician may detect it during a routine physical exam. Because other problems can cause similar symptoms, the physician may order tests to determine another problem, or to be sure the cancer has not spread. These tests may include:
Our testicular cancer treatment approach depends on each patient’s situation. Nearly all men with testicular cancer undergo radical inguinal orchiectomy to remove the affected testicle. This allows the physician to identify the type of cancer cells present, and to plan other necessary treatments. These post-surgery treatments may include: