Testicular cancer develops in the testicles (testes) and/or the male reproductive glands, and it is a rare malignancy. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 8,500 new cases diagnosed in the United States in 2012. Testicular cancer is most common in males between the ages of 15 and 45 years. In men between 45 and 60 years incidence declines, and a new peak develops in men over the age of 60.âï¿½¨Approximately 90 to 95% of testicular tumors are germ cell tumors, with the remainder being lymphoma and additional rare tumor types. Of the germ cell tumors, 60% are seminomas and the remainder are non-seminomatous in cell type histology. Testicular cancer is treated successfully in more than 95% of cases.
The tumor type is determined by examining the excised testicular tumor. Assessment of the extent of disease (staging) involves physical examination, measurement of serum tumor markers (AFP, HCG, LDH), and radiological evaluation (CXR, CT scanning). Treatment following removal of the primary testicular tumor will depend upon tumor histological subtype and stage, and it may involve systemic chemotherapy, retroperitoneal surgery, radiation therapy, or close surveillance alone. Some patients choose to store frozen sperm in a sperm bank before treatment to ensure fertility.
The risk factors for testicular cancer are not known, but some causes may include the following:
- Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism): Normally, the testicles descend from inside the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. The risk of testicular cancer is increased in males with a testicle that does not move down into the scrotum.
- Congenital abnormalities: Men born with abnormalities of the testicles, penis, or kidneys, as well as those with inguinal hernia (hernia in the groin area, where the thigh meets the abdomen), may be at increased risk.
- History of testicular cancer: Men who have had testicular cancer are at increased risk of developing cancer in the other testicle.
- Family history of testicular cancer: The risk for testicular cancer is greater in men whose brother or father has had the disease.
Capital Region Urology has comprehensive medical services for testicular cancer, for more information go to Prostate Cancer.