Testicular cancer develops in the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum. The scrotum is the bag of skin behind the penis that contains the testicles, and other structures that create, store and carry sperm and male sex hormones. Testicular cancer is rare compared to other types of cancer. Typically, it is more common among males between ages 15 and 34. White males are more likely to develop this cancer than black males. Generally testicular cancer develops in one testicle.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A dull ache in the groin or abdomen
- A heavy feeling in the scrotum
- A sudden accumulation of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain in the scrotum or a testicle
- An enlargement or lump in a testicle
- Tender or enlarged breasts
Contact your urologist if you notice swelling, pain or lumps in a testicle or your groin area, especially if you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks. Schedule an appointment even if the lump is not painful.
Doctors are unsure what causes testicular cancer, but you are at a higher risk for developing the condition if you have a testicle that did not descend into the scrotum before birth or if the testicles developed abnormally. A family history of this condition and age may also put one at a higher risk. Testicular cancer affects teens and younger men between the ages of 15 and 34; however it can develop at any age.
Treatment options for the cancer vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer, your overall health and your own preferences for care. Treatment options include surgery to remove the affected testicle, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
There is no way to prevent cancer. Self-examination is key. Testicular cancer is very much treatable when diagnosed early.