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Quick Facts

Testicular Cancer

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2018| Content last modified Oct 2018
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Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. Different organs are made of different kinds of cells. Almost any kind of cell can become cancerous. 

What is testicular cancer?

The testicles are the pair of organs where sperm is made. They are inside the scrotum, the sac of skin that hangs down behind a man’s penis. Testicular cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells of the testicle.

  • Testicular cancer is most common among men under age 40

  • You usually have a painless lump in your testicle, or your testicle gets larger

  • Doctors recommend that young men check their own testicles for lumps once a month

  • Doctors do surgery to remove the testicle that has cancer and may give you radiation or chemotherapy

  • With treatment testicular cancer is usually curable

  • Having a testicle removed won't harm your sex drive, erections, or ability to have children

What causes testicular cancer?

Doctors don't know what causes testicular cancer. But it's more common if one or both testicles didn't descend into the scrotum normally (undescended testicles).

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

The most common symptom is:

  • A firm, painless lump in a testicle

Less often, you might have symptoms such as:

  • Dull, aching pain in a testicle

  • Rarely, sudden, severe pain in a testicle

How do doctors tell if I have testicular cancer?

Doctors suspect testicular cancer in young men who have a lump in the testicle. Doctors then do:

  • Ultrasound to see if a lump is cancer or a harmless fluid-filled growth

  • Blood tests

  • Sometimes, surgery to see if it's cancer

If you have cancer, they'll do:

How do doctors treat testicular cancer?

Treatment often cures men with testicular cancer. Doctors will usually:

  • Do surgery to remove the testicle that has cancer— if you want, they can replace it with an artificial testicle

Other treatments depend on the specific type of cancer, how aggressive it is, and how far it's spread. Treatments may include:

  • Removing lymph nodes in your abdomen (belly area) because testicular cancer often spreads there first

  • Doing radiation therapy if your testicular cancer is a type called a seminoma

  • Doing chemotherapy to kill cancer that has spread or come back

Men who are going to get radiation or chemotherapy may store their sperm before treatment because these treatments may cause fertility problems. If you have surgery to remove a cancerous testicle, the remaining one should function normally so you can have children.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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