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Cancer

Testicular Cancer

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, you and your family might be overwhelmed with questions and concerns. Your first decision is where to get treatment.

You want a place where you can get the most advanced treatment options available. A place where you are supported by a team of compassionate experts. A place where you are treated as a whole person.

MultiCare Regional Cancer Center is that place. We have the region’s best health care providers in the field on oncology. Our world-class treatment facility offers cutting edge technology in a welcoming and positive healing environment.

Learn about our comprehensive treatment approach, our cancer care team or more about testicular cancer in the tabs below.


Testicular Cancer Facts

Testicular cancer is cancer that starts in the testicles, the male reproductive glands located in the scrotum. There are two main types of testicular cancer: seminomas and nonseminomas. These cancers grow from germ cells, the cells that make sperm.

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. Fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable and curable cancers.

A stromal tumor is a rare type of testicular tumor that is usually not cancerous. Stromal tumors usually occur during childhood.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Factors that may increase a man's risk for testicular cancer include:

  • Abnormal testicle development
  • History of testicular cancer
  • History of an undescended testicle
  • Klinefelter syndrome, in which a male has an extra X chromosome


Exposure to certain chemicals, HIV infection or a family history of testicular cancer may also increase your risk, and you are more likely to develop testicular cancer if you are Caucasian than if you are African-American and Asian-American.

Symptoms

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the testicle, or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain in the back or lower abdomen
  • Enlargement of a testicle or a change in the way it feels
  • Excess development of breast tissue (gynecomastia), however, this can occur normally in adolescent boys who do not have testicular cancer
  • Lump or swelling in either testicle


Some men with testicular cancer experience no symptoms, which is why regular check-ups with a doctor are important.

Diagnosis

A physical examination typically reveals a firm lump (mass) in one of the testicles.
Tests to diagnoses testicular cancer may include:

  • Abdominal and pelvic CT scan
  • Blood tests for tumor markers, including  alpha fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta HCG), and lactic dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • Ultrasound of the scrotum


A biopsy of the tumor is usually not performed until after the entire testicle is surgically removed.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the type of testicular tumor and the stage of the tumor, but three types of treatment are common:

  • Surgically removing the affected testicle (orchiectomy). Surgery may also be used to remove nearby lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). Surgery is usually used to treat both seminomas and nonseminomas.
  • Using radiation therapy after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning. Radiation therapy is usually only used for treating seminomas.
  • Using chemotherapy drugs to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can greatly improve survival for patients with both seminomas and nonseminomas.