Testicular cancer occurs when cancer cells grow in one or both testicles. If caught early, testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer.
Mount Sinai Urology diagnoses and treats the disease with a multidisciplinary team of specialists that includes radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and urologists. Our teams develop individualized treatment plans to meet your needs and situation.
While we do not know what causes testicular cancer, there are several factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease. These include family history of testicular cancer, abnormal testicular development, or an undescended testicle. White American men are more likely to develop testicular cancer, especially those ages 25 to 35.
Types and Stages
There are several types of testicular cancer. Ninety percent of testicular cancers start in the germ cells, which create sperm; these include seminomas (which grow and spread slowly) and non-seminomas (which tend to affect men in their late teens and early thirties, and reproduce relatively quickly). In addition, there is yolk sac carcinoma, which is most common in children; choriocarcinoma, which is very rare and extremely aggressive; and teratoma.
Testicular cancer can also begin as a non-invasive form, called carcinoma in situ or intratubular germ cell neoplasia. These cells do not always progress to invasive cancer.
Testicular cancer develops in three stages. Cancers labeled stage I are limited to the testicle; stage II cancers have spread to the lymph nodes toward the back of the abdomen; and those classified as stage III have spread elsewhere in the body.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- Swelling or painless lumps in either testicle
- Aching in the lower abdomen or groin
- Sudden appearance of fluid in the scrotum
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
- Enlarged breasts
- Lower back pain (in the later stages of the disease)