What You Need to Know About

testicular cancer

Cancer that starts in the testicles is called testicular cancer.

Testicles (also called the testes; a single testicle is called a testis) are part of the male reproductive system. Testicles are each normally a little smaller than the size of a golf ball.

Testicles have 2 main functions:

They make male hormones such as testosterone.

They make sperm, the male cells needed to fertilize a female egg cell to start a pregnancy.

new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in 2018.

Although this is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, about 7% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 7% occur in men over the age of 55.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men age 18 to 35, but is still fairly rare. 

Roughly 1 out of every 263 males will develop testicular cancer.

The average age at the time of testicular cancer diagnosis is 33

When caught early, the cure rate for testicular cancer is nearly 100%. Even with more advanced stages of testicular cancer, more than 75% of patients are cured.

Signs of a testicular tumor:

  • A painless lump or firmness within the testicle (the most common sign)
  • Swelling of the testicle (with or without pain)
  • Pain or a dull ache in the testicle, scrotum or groin.

Testicular self-exams

are the most important way to detect a tumor early. How frequently a man should perform this is not known, but we recommend weekly to monthly. The best time to examine the testicles is right after a hot bath or shower. The scrotal skin is most relaxed at this time and the testicles can be felt more easily. 

The exam should be done while standing and it only takes a few minutes.

  1. Look for swelling in the scrotum or any changes in appearance.
  2. Gently feel the scrotal sac to find a testicle.
  3. Examine the testicles one at a time. Firmly and gently roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to feel the whole surface.
  4. Note that it is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other. It is also normal to feel a cord-like structure (the epididymis) on the top and back of each testicle.
  5. If you find a lump, swelling, pain or other change, get it checked out right away. Changes are not always cancer. If it is cancer and you catch it early, you have the best chance for a cure.

In recent years, researchers have found that inherited variations in certain genes, such as 


appear to increase the risk of testicular cancer. These findings may help identify men at higher risk, but they need to be studied more.

For more information on Testicular Cancer, visit the Urology Care Foundation’s website: UrologyHealth.org

UrologyHealth.org  |  SPRING 2018  |  UROLOGYHEALTH extra