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What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs when healthy cells in a testicle start growing abnormally. Testes are male sexual glands that produce sperms and testosterone hormones in men. The testicles are small egg-shaped glands located inside a pouch of skin called the scrotum, underneath the penis. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men age between 15 to 44 years. The malignant cells develop in the tissues of a testicle and can affect most of the testicles, but it very rare and curable.

What are the types of Testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer starts in the germ cells of testicles that produce sperms.

  • Seminoma: This type grows slowly and stays within the testes.
  • Non-seminoma evolves to grow faster and may invade other nearby parts of the body.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • Swelling in either testicle and feeling of heaviness
  • Sharp pain, discomfort, or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum
  • Pain in lower abdominal and groin
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement of breast tissue

What are the causes & Risk Factors?

Testicular cancer occurs when germ cells in a testicle start growing and multiplying abnormally. Some genetic factors may also increase the risk. Risk factors for developing cancer include:

  • Undescended testicle or cryptorchidism is when one or both testicles do not drop from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth.
  • Family history of testicular cancer may increase the risk of developing the condition
  • Tobacco smoking is the greatest risk factor for developing cancer
  • Caucasian descent and white men are more likely to develop cancer
  • Abnormal testicular development due to abnormal growth of germ cells
  • Infertility may also develop testicular cancer

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose testicular cancer, a doctor will recommend:

  • A physical examination of the scrotum, abdomen, lymph nodes, and other parts to look for the signs of lumps, firmness, and swelling.
  • Blood tests measure the elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotrophin, and lactate dehydrogenase substances related to testicular cancer. These are tumor-maker substances and need be measured before surgery.
  • Ultrasound and imaging test to examine the internal structure of the testicles to check a suspicious lump.
  • In a biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed from the testicles to check for a cancer cell
  • CT Scan and X-rays to diagnose a suspected lump.

What are the treatment options?

The stages of cancer determine the treatment option.

  • Stage 1 cancer confined within the testicles
  • Stage 2 cancer has invaded the lymph nodes in the abdomen
  • Stage 3 cancer has crossed the lymph nodes and spread to other parts of the body

The main treatment option for testicular cancer is:

Surgical Intervention

Most often orchiectomy is done for removing one or both the testicle and the associated lymph nodes. After surgery, the patient is kept under regular surveillance to make sure the cancer is not returning.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses a high-energy ray to kill cancer cells on the testis or in nearby lymph nodes. It might be used after surgery to prevent tumors from coming back. In treating seminoma-cell cancers, an internal radiation technique is used where radioactive seeds are placed into the affected area.


Chemotherapy uses drugs that travel through the body in the bloodstream to kill cancer cells. If cancer cells grow beyond the testicles, it is a recommended treatment. It also lowers the risk of cancer returning after surgery.

It will take up to 2 months to fully recover from surgery. Follow-up care is necessary. Self-testicular examination keeps you informed about the early detection of cancer.


Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

Address: Rao Saheb, Achutrao Patwardhan Marg, Four Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

Phone: +91-98 88 66 22 00

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