Testicular Cancer (cont.)
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What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a disease in which cells become malignant (cancerous) in one or both testicles.
The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are a pair of male sex glands. They produce and store sperm and are the main source of testosterone (the major male hormone) in men. These hormones control the development of the reproductive organs and other male physical characteristics. The testicles are located under the penis in a sac-like pouch called the scrotum.
Based on the characteristics of the cells in the tumor, testicular cancers are classified as seminomas or nonseminomas. Other types of cancer that arise in the testicles are rare and are not described here. Seminomas may be one of three types: classic, anaplastic, or spermatocytic. Types of nonseminomas include choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, and yolk sac tumors. Testicular tumors may contain both seminoma and nonseminoma cells.
Testicular cancer accounts for only 1 percent of all cancers in men in the United States. About 8,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer, and about 390 men die of this disease each year. Testicular cancer occurs most often in men between the ages of 20 and 39, and is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34. It is most common in white men, especially those of Scandinavian descent. The testicular cancer rate has more than doubled among white men in the past 40 years, but has only recently begun to increase among black men. The reason for the racial differences in incidence is not known.
What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
The exact causes of testicular cancer are not known. However, studies have shown that several factors increase a man's chance of developing this disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/28/2014
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