Testicular Cancer, a Young Man’s Disease

By Clair Beard, MD

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men (ages 15-34). It is also one of the most treatable and curable types of cancers.

Testicular cancer can grow in one or both testicles, two egg-shaped glands (enclosed in the scrotum) that produce testosterone (a male hormone) and sperm. A man can develop the disease at any age, even though it is rare: each man’s chance of developing it is about 1 in 268 over his lifetime.

Risk factors for testicular cancer include:

  • An undescended testicle
  • Abnormal development of the testicle
  • A family history of testicular cancer
  • Being white (white man are four times more likely than black men to have testicular cancer)

Lumps, swelling, or pain in the groin or surrounding area are the most common symptoms of testicular cancer. However, these symptoms do not always indicate cancer. Similarly, you can have testicular cancer with no symptoms at all.

Clair Beard, MD, and Christopher Sweeney, MBBS
Clair Beard, MD, and Christopher Sweeney, MBBS

Be sure to see a doctor if you notice any of these red flags:

  • Painless lump or swelling in either testicle
  • Change in how the testicle feels (size or texture)
  • Sudden build-up of fluid around the testicle
  • Dull ache in the lower stomach or groin
  • Pain or discomfort near the testicles or groin

If you think you have testicular cancer, don’t panic and don’t delay. It is important to see a doctor right away, because early detection increases the cure rate.

And be sure to monitor your health at home: regularly give yourself a self-exam to check for lumps or changes in your testicles. See how to perform a self-exam in this video.