Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 - 34 years.

About 8,430 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in men each year.

About 380 men will die of testicular cancer.

What is testicular cancer?

The testicles are part of the male reproductive system and are responsible for the production of male hormones (mostly testosterone) and sperm. Testicular cancer starts as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or both testicles.

More than 90% of testicular cancers develop in germ cells, which are responsible for the production of sperm. Secondary testicular tumours are caused by cancerous cells that have spread to the testicles from other parts of the body (metastasis). These cancers are much rarer than the previous forms of testicular cancer.

Know the risk factors

Young men between the age of 15 and 40 years are at the highest risk of developing testicular cancer. The causes of testicular cancer are unknown, however there are possible factors that may increase a man’s risk including:

Family history such as a brother or father diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Previous occurrence of testicular cancer.

Undescended testes at birth.

Down syndrome is thought to increase risk of testicular cancer.

There is no known link between testicular cancer and injury to the testicles, sporting strains, hot baths or wearing tight clothes.

Symptoms, testing and treatment

The symptoms

Men may experience few or no symptoms of testicular cancer, however important warning signs to watch for include:

  • Swelling or a lump in either testicle (usually painless)
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Change in the size and shape of the testicles
  • Aches or pain in the lower abdomen or groin
  • A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue

What to do

If you have any concerns or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor.

Testing yourself

Regular self-examination of the testicles is important for young men, particularly those at risk of testicular cancer. Being familiar with the size, shape and usual level of lumpiness can help you determine if something is not quite right.

A testicular self-examination can help a man find any changes in the testes early, so that if treatment is needed it can start as early as possible.

How to test yourself

Read our step-by-step guide to conducting a testicular self-examination.

Treatment options

Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer and can be effectively treated, and potentially cured, if diagnosed and treated early. Advanced testicular cancer can also be cured with treatment. Treatments include:

  • Orchiectomy (surgical removal of the affected testis), done under general anesthetic.
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy, often prescribed after surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes.

A testicular self-examination can help a man find any changes in the testes early, so that if treatment is needed it can start as early as possible.

If you've been diagnosed with testicular cancer

The most important step is to talk to your doctor about treatment choices. You may consider getting a second or third doctor’s opinion.

Side effects

Testicular cancer and the removal of one testicle should not alter sexual function or fertility. The effect on fertility following removal of one of the testicles is minimal as a single testicle produces such large numbers of sperm.

For those men who require further treatment, fertility is likely to be affected, at least temporarily.

Anticipating changes in fertility

Men with testicular cancer should talk to their oncologist about sperm banking before commencing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


Support and resources

American Cancer Society


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