Testicular cancer forms in the tissue of one or both testicles, the male sex glands in the scrotum. Testicular cancer most often begins in the germ cells responsible for producing sperm. Testicular cancer is rare compared to other types of cancer; however, it is the most common form of cancer for young men ages 20 to 34. Most cases can be cured even when they are discovered at a more advanced stage when the cancer has spread. Germ cell tumors, which make up most testicular cancer cases, have two types: seminomas, which grow and spread more slowly, and non-seminomas — though tumors can contain both types of cells.
Testicular Cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center
Markey’s testicular cancer team provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with cancers of the testicles.
Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the testicular cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.
Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.
Testicular cancer can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Back pain
- Breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Dull pain or aching in the groin/lower abdomen
- Fluid build-up in the scrotum
- Heavy feeling in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or a testicle
- Swelling or a lump in either testicle
Because most testicular cancers are treatable, the lifetime survival rate for testicular cancer is comparatively very high. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the relative five-year survival rate for all stages of testicular cancer combined is 95 percent.
You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:
- Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
- Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
- Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
- Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.
Risk factors identified for testicular cancer include:
- Age. Testicular cancer is most common in men ages 20 to 34, though it can occur in men of any age.
- An undescended testicle. Most often, testicles develop in a fetus’s abdomen and descend into the scrotum before birth. However, in some cases one or both testicles fail to descend, causing a condition known as cryptorchidism. Men with this condition are at higher risk for testicular cancer.
- Carcinoma in situ of the testicle. Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a noninvasive form of testicular cancer that occurs in the germ cells. While these cells look abnormal when examined under a microscope, at this stage they are contained within the seminiferous tubules (where germ cells develop). While CIS doesn’t always develop into an invasive form of testicular cancer, it does increase risk.
- Family history of testicular cancer. If your father or brother has had testicular cancer, that increases your risk. However, most men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer do not have any family history.
- HIV infection. Men infected with HIV, and specifically those with AIDS, are at increased risk for testicular cancer.
- Previous diagnosis of testicular cancer. If you had testicular cancer in one testicle, you are at higher risk for developing it again in the other testicle compared to someone who has not.
- Race/ethnicity. Men who are of Caucasian descent (white) are more likely to develop testicular cancer than men of other races or ethnicities. For example, according to the ACS the testicular cancer risk of white men is four to five times higher than that of Black or Asian American men.
- For your first visit, you will be directed to the multidisciplinary clinic in the Whitney-Hendrickson Building.
- You can register at the front desk or registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
- Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
- Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
- To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.
Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective. At Markey, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.
Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating testicular cancer below.