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Testicular Cancer Risk Factors and Treatment

in NJ, CT, MD, and the Washington, D.C., Area

Several risk factors for testicular cancer have been identified. Understanding these risk factors – and learning more about testicular cancer generally – can help men be alert to their risk for the disease and obtain prompt medical evaluation of any signs or symptoms that might be indicative of the disease. The oncology experts of Regional Cancer Care Associates are experienced in treating patients with testicular cancer. Discover compassionate, cutting-edge medical care and multiple treatment options at RCCA care centers throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area.

Symptoms and Signs of Testicular Cancer

The testicles are organs that produce male hormones and sperm. They are located in the scrotum sac, which hangs behind the penis. Testicular cancer develops from abnormal cell growth in one or both testicles. While this cancer is most common in young and middle-aged white men, it does occur in males of all ages and ethnicities. The unusual, uncontrolled cell growth can cause tumors to form and impair normal function. The testicles are composed of many different cell types, and each type of cell may develop into a distinct form of testicular cancer.
Healthcare team checks in with testicular cancer patient lying in hospital bed

Regular self-examination is recommended for early detection of testicular cancer. Attention should be paid to the whole genital area, and regular medical checkups also are recommended. When testicular cancer goes undetected, it may spread to the abdomen or lymph nodes. Common testicular cancer signs and symptoms include: 

  • Lump in the testicle, often without pain
  • Change in size or feeling (i.e., one testicle may be larger or firmer)
  • Swelling in the scrotum or in one or both legs
  • Pressure, weight, or ache in the scrotum or groin area
  • Breast soreness, or swelling, lumps, or other changes noticed in the breasts
  • Fluid collecting in the testicles
  • Early signs of puberty in boys
  • Belly or lower back pain

While these symptoms may be attributable to injuries, infections, or other ailments, they should be evaluated by a physician or other qualified clinician, such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Early detection of testicular cancer typically translates into more treatment options and better outcomes, including higher survival rates. 

Common Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

Several risk factors increase the chance of developing testicular cancer. The presence of a risk factor does not mean that cancer will develop, but it does point to a need for greater vigilance and awareness of changes in the testes and surrounding area. Testicular cancer risk factors include:

Age

Testicular cancer most often is seen in men between the ages of 15 and 45 years. It also has been diagnosed in infants and elderly men, however.

Family History

If a man has a family history of testicular cancer, such as a near relative who developed the disease, he faces a small increase in risk for testicular cancer relative to the overall male population. Meanwhile, a personal history of cancer in one testicle carries a small increased risk factor for cancer in the other testicle.

Undescended Testicle

An undescended testicle or some other form of unusual testicle development is a primary risk factor for testicular cancer. Often, testicles that remain in the abdomen of the newborn will descend over the first year of life. Surgery sometimes is performed to move the testicle into the scrotum after a child is one year old.

HIV Infection

Becoming infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), especially if the infection progresses to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), has been shown to carry an increased testicular cancer risk factor.

Race and Ethnicity

White or Caucasian men have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men of other racial backgrounds. Men living in the United States and Europe also are at higher risk of receiving this cancer diagnosis than their counterparts in other regions of the world.

Klinefelter Syndrome

This is a rare disorder, in which a man has an extra X chromosome.

Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer

As with other cancers, early detection and treatment of testicular cancer are essential. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year relative survival rate for testicular cancer that has not spread beyond the testicles is 99%,. However, this number drops to 73% once cancer has spread to distant organs.

Doctors sometimes recommend active surveillance rather than immediate treatment for a slow-growing testicular cancer that has not spread beyond one testicle. When this approach – which is not employed for all types of testicular cancer – is chosen, the patient will have frequent checkups and routine ultrasounds, as well as blood tests. If changes are detected, or if the patient is not a good candidate for active surveillance, oncologists may proceed to one or more of several treatment options, including:

  • Surgery to remove the testicle, spermatic cord, and any tumors or affected lymph nodes
  • Radiation therapy to kill cancer cells in the testicle or within lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy, which uses drugs taken intravenously or by mouth to kill cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy, which employs drugs that target the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact

At Regional Cancer Care Associates, patients receive care from highly experienced medical teams with expertise in treating many different cancers and blood disorders. Regional Cancer Care Associates’ oncologists draw on the latest diagnostics and therapeutic approaches to provide cutting-edge, compassionate, and individualized treatment.

Contact Testicular Cancer Experts at Regional Cancer Care Associates

Testicular cancer usually is curable. Patients who have been diagnosed with the condition may consult with compassionate, knowledgeable medical professionals at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ 25 conveniently located, community-based locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Contact us to learn more.

Regional Cancer Care Associates — Cancer care you can trust

Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) offers high-quality, comprehensive and advanced treatment close to home. At RCCA, you’ll be treated by experts who are part of one of the largest cancer care networks in the country. We focus on every patient, individually, and work with you and your family to make sure your care is second to none.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (844) 346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.

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