What you need to know about testicular cancer

Testicular cancer or cancer of the testis occurs when cancer cells form in one or both testicles. These cells begin to change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass or tumour.

The cells can also invade the blood stream and lymph system and spread, leading to tumours in other areas of the body called metastases.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in 20- to 35-year-old men and has two main types, seminomas and nonseminomas.

Seminomas are testicular cancers that grow slowly. They’re usually confined to your testes, but your lymph nodes may also be involved. Nonseminomas are the more common form of testicular cancer. This type is grows faster and may spread to other parts of your body.

 Risk factors

A risk factor is any attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury.

1. Undescended testicles

Testicles usually descend from the inside of the abdomen into the scrotum before a baby boy is born.

If a testicle has not moved down when a male is born, there is a greater risk that he will develop testicular cancer later on even if it is brought into the scrotum with surgery..

Testicles that do not naturally descend into the scrotum are considered abnormal.

2. Age

Testicular cancer affects teens and younger men, particularly those between ages 15 and 35. However, it can occur at any age.

3. Family history

A male who has a close relative with testicular cancer is more likely to develop it himself compared with other men.

4. Ancestry

Testicular cancer is more common among white males, compared with men of African or Asian descent.

5. Medical history

If a male has had testicular cancer, he is more likely to develop it in the other testicle, compared with a man who has never had testicular cancer.


  1. Painless lump or swelling on either testicle
  2. Pain or discomfort, with or without swelling, in a testicle or the scrotum
  3. Change in the way a testicle feels or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  4. Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  5. Sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
  6. Breast tenderness or enlargement
  7. Back pain


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