Types of Testicular Cancer and Treatments

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

Cancer can develop in many different types of cells throughout the body. Testicular cancer may arise in any of the cells present in the testicles. Oncologists classify testicular cancers based on the type of cell in which the cancer cells started to grow. This system helps guide cancer treatment options. The expert medical oncologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates are available throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area for the treatment of all types of testicular cancer.

Common Cell Types Involved in Testicular Cancer

There are two main types of testicular cancer — germ cell tumors and stromal cell tumors. There also are subtypes within each of these categories, as well as secondary testicular cancers. Here are the most commonly identified testicular cancer tumor types:

Germ Cell Tumors

These tumors account for 90% of cancers that start in the testicles. The germ cells make sperm. There are two subtypes of germ cell tumors:

  • Seminoma germ cell tumors
    • These tumors usually grow slowly and fall into two categories:
      • Classical seminomas, which are the most common
      • Spermatocytic seminomas, which affect older men more often
    • Non-seminoma germ cell tumors
      • These fall into four main subcategories, and these tumors usually involve more than one cell type:
        • Embryonal carcinoma, which can grow rapidly and spread
        • Yolk sac carcinoma, which is more common in children
        • Choriocarcinoma, which is rare and often fast-growing
        • Teratoma, which occurs rarely and may spread to lymph nodes
Doctor sits next to a patient and goes over test results for testicular cancer

Stromal Tumors

These tumors account for less than 5% of testicular cancers in adults but up to 20% of childhood testicular tumors. They often are not cancerous, but in rare cases, they do spread to other areas of the body. There are two main types:

  • Leydig cell tumors, which usually are benign and can develop in children and adults
  • Sertoli cell tumors, which usually are benign, but can spread throughout the body

Secondary Testicular Cancers

Cancers that start in one part of the body can spread to other areas, including the testicles. If cancer that originated elsewhere reaches the testicles, it is called secondary testicular cancer. Lymphoma can affect the testicles in this way, and young men with acute leukemia also may develop testicular tumors. Other cancers that ultimately may affect the testicles if untreated may start in the kidneys, prostate, lungs, skin, or other organs.

Testicular Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

Testicular cancer often is curable, and early detection enables oncologists to offer patients more treatment options and to achieve better health outcomes. The doctors at Regional Cancer Care Associates recommend regular self-examination and familiarity with these common testicular cancer symptoms:

  • 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

Testicular cancer occurs in boys and men of all ages, as well as in males of all ethnic backgrounds. However, several risk factors have been identified:

  • Age: Patients usually are between 15 and 45 years old
  • Personal or family history: A man previously diagnosed with testicular cancer is at increased risk, as are men who have a close relative who developed the disease
  • Undescended testicle: This uncommon physiologic condition and other types of unusual testicle development can heighten the risk of contracting testicular cancer
  • HIV infection: Having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) may increase the likelihood of developing testicular cancer
  • Race and ethnicity: White men are at higher risk than other racial groups, and testicular cancer is more prevalent in Europe and the U.S. than elsewhere in the world
  • Klinefelter Syndrome: Patients with this rare genetic disorder have an extra X chromosome and may be more likely to have testicular cancer

Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer

The American Cancer Society published five-year relative survival rates for patients with testicular cancer diagnosed between 2011 and 2017. Males with localized cancers were found to have a 99% survival rate, while those whose cancers had spread had a 73% survival rate.

The decline in survival rate for testicular cancer as it spreads highlights the necessity of early detection, which translates into early treatment. Oncologists sometimes will recommend active surveillance of testicular cancer – meaning deferring treatment in favor of close monitoring – based on the patient’s age and health and the testicular cancer stage and type. In many cases, however, one or more of the following treatment options are employed:

  • 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, a treatment taken intravenously or by mouth to kill cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs that target the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact

Find Cancer Treatment Experts at Regional Cancer Care Associates

Patients diagnosed with testicular cancer can turn to the experienced, compassionate doctors of Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) for help in identifying and implementing the best testicular cancer treatment plan. RCCA oncologists and hematologists provide services in community-based care centers throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area.. Call one of the 25 convenient locations to learn more about treatment today. 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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