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Word On Testicular Cancer

Our grateful thanks to NHS Choices for the information below. We'd also like to thank Orchid, the male cancer charity (see the 'further information, help and support' section of this page below for  a hyperlink to them, highlighted in blue) for their input to our 'on-air'report which you can hear via our radio player located further down this page.    

Cancer of the testicles, also known as testicular cancer, is one of the less common cancers. It usually affects younger men between the ages of 15 and 49.

The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms can include:

  • a dull ache in the scrotum (the sac of skin that hangs underneath the penis and contains the testicles)
  • a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

It's important for  a man to be aware of what feels normal. Guys, get to know your body and see your GP if you notice any changes.

Read more about the symptoms of testicular cancer via the NHS Choices website .

The testicles are the two oval-shaped male sex organs that sit inside the scrotum on either side of the penis.

The testicles are an important part of the male reproductive system because they produce sperm and the hormone testosterone, which plays a major role in male sexual development.

Types of testicular cancer.  The different types of testicular cancer are classified by the type of cells the cancer first begins in.

The most common type of testicular cancer is known as ‘germ cell testicular cancer’, which accounts for around 95% of all cases. Germ cells are a type of cell that the body uses to help create sperm.

There are two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer. They are:

  • seminomas, which account for around 40-45% of all germ cell testicular cancers
  • non-seminomas, which account for around 40-45% of all germ cell testicular cancers

Less common types of testicular cancer include:

  • Leydig cell tumours, which account for around 1-3% of cases
  • Sertoli cell tumours, which account for around 1% of cases
  • Lymphoma, which accounts for around 4% of cases

Read information about Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma via the NHS Choices website.

How common is testicular cancer? Testicular cancer is relatively uncommon, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men.

Each year in the UK around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

Testicular cancer is unusual compared to other cancers because it tends to affect younger men. As a result, although relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.

Rates of testicular cancer are five times higher in white men than in black men. The reasons for this are unclear.

The number of cases of testicular cancer that are diagnosed each year in the UK has roughly doubled since the mid-1970s. Again, the reasons for this are unclear.

The causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but a number of things have been identified that increase the chance of developing the condition. These include:

  • having a family history of testicular cancer
  • being born with undescended testicles (cryptorchidism). About 3-5% of boys are born with their testicles located inside their abdomen, which usually descend into the scrotum during the first four months of life

Read more about the causes of testicular cancer via the NHS Choices website.

Outlook  Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer. More than 96% of men with early stage testicular cancer will be completely cured.

Even cases of more advanced testicular cancer, where the cancer has spread outside the testicles to nearby tissue, have an 80% chance of being cured.

Treatment for testicular cancer includes the surgical removal of the affected testicle (which should not affect fertility or the ability to have sex), and chemotherapy. Less commonly, radiotherapy (a treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells) may be used for seminomas.

Read more about treatments for testicular cancer via the NHS Choices website.

Further information, help and support

Orchid, the male cancers charity

Movember

Macmillan Cancer Research

Checkemlads

Cancer Research UK

Macmillan Cancer Research

Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.