A Guide to Testicular Cancer 

Testicular cancer
Children or adults can develop testicular cancer at any age, although they are more likely to develop it between the ages of 15 and 44. Testicular cancer can be treated if it is detected early. Understand the disease, its causes, symptoms, treatment and more here.

What is testicular cancer?

Cancer that begins in the testicles, or testes is called testicular cancer. The testicles are located in the scrotum, a loose sack of skin found beneath the penis. The testicles produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. While uncommon, testicular cancer can occur at any age, most frequently between the ages of 15 and 45. A bulge or lump on a testicle is frequently the first indication of testicular cancer. They rapidly grow and frequently spread outside of the testicle to other parts of the body.

What are the types of testicular cancer?

  • Seminoma: A malignancy that primarily begins from the germ cells in the testes, affects people in their 40s or 50s, and is slow-growing
  • Non-seminoma: These are also germ cell tumours but non-seminomatous and affect people in their late teens, early 20s, and early 30s. The four non-seminoma tumour varieties are embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac carcinoma, choriocarcinoma, and teratoma

Who can get testicular cancer?

The following factors increase a man’s risk of developing testicular cancer:

  • Genetics: If you have a positive family history of testicular cancer
  • Undescended testicles: This is a condition that occurs in the womb. Also called cryptorchidism, this is when a testicle does not descend from the abdomen
  • Testicular germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS): Frequently observed while testing for infertility, these are abnormal cells that act as precursors to cancer cells
Testicular Cancer

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

A painless lump in your testis is the most typical indicator of testicular cancer. Additional signs include:
  • Sudden fluid buildup or swelling in your scrotum
  • A growth or lump in one of the testicles
  • Heaviness in your scrotum
  • Dull pain in your lower abdomen or groin
  • Intestinal or scrotal pain or discomfort
  • An elongating testicle

What are the stages of testicular cancer?

Stage 0: In the testicles, where sperm cells first begin to mature, abnormal cells have formed. In situ germ cell neoplasia is another name for stage 0 (GCNIS)

Stage I: The cancer is limited to the testis, which may include lymph nodes or blood arteries. There could be increased tumour markers in this case

Stage II: Cancer has only reached the retroperitoneum, or the lymph nodes in the back of your belly, and has not spread farther. In contrast to stage II, stage III refers to cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes and is accompanied by moderately to severely increased tumour markers

Stage III: Cancer has metastasised, or spread, to an organ or lymph nodes outside of the abdomen

How is testicular cancer diagnosed?

The following common procedures and tests are used to diagnose testicular cancer:

  • A physical examination and medical history: Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and extensively examine you to look for signs of testicular cancer. They might check your lymph nodes and feel your testicles for lumps.
  • Ultrasound: Your doctor will probably request an ultrasound if they discover an anomaly during the examination. A harmless medical treatment called an ultrasound uses powerful sound waves to produce images of the tissue inside your body.
  • Inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy: If the ultrasound reveals signs of cancer, your doctor may perform this to remove the afflicted testicle through a groin incision. Your testicular tissue will be examined under a microscope by a specialist to look for cancer.

Other exams might involve:

  • A serum tumour marker test analyses a blood sample to determine the concentrations of certain chemicals connected to particular cancer types. Tumour markers are these chemicals. The tumour markers alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG or beta-hHCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) are frequently increased in testicular cancer
  • CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs: A CT scan creates images of the inside of your body using X-rays. To determine whether your cancer has progressed to your abdominal organs, your doctor may do a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis. To determine whether cancer has spread to your lungs, they may need a CT scan or regular X-ray. You might be given an MRI if your doctor thinks your cancer has gone to your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). An MRI creates images of the interior of your body using radio waves and magnets

How is testicular cancer treated?

The treatment of testicular cancer is done in 3 ways:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy


The following procedures are used to treat testicular cancer:

Testicle removal surgery: Radical inguinal orchiectomy is the medical term for this procedure. For the majority of testicular malignancies, it is the initial therapy. A genital incision is made by the surgeon to remove the testicle. The hole is used to draw out the testicle in its totality. If you want, a prosthetic testicle filled with gel can be placed. If cancer has not gone beyond the testicle, this may be the only therapy required

Surgical removal of lymph nodes: You may undergo surgery to remove a few lymph nodes if your cancer has progressed beyond your testicle. The surgeon cuts to remove the lymph nodes in the abdomen


Strong medications are used during chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy affects the entire body. Chemotherapy is frequently administered following surgery. Any remaining cancer cells in the body may be killed by this method. In cases where testicular cancer is highly advanced, chemotherapy may be administered first.

Radiation therapy

High-powered energy beams are used in radiation therapy to eliminate cancer cells. The radiation may originate from protons, X-rays, or other sources. You lie on a table during radiation therapy as a huge machine rotates around you. The equipment directs the energy beams to specific locations on your body. Seminoma testicular cancer is occasionally treated with radiation therapy. After your testicle is removed via surgery, radiation therapy might be advised.


This is a medical procedure that works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells. Your immune system fights off illnesses by destroying germs and other cells that shouldn’t be in your body. However, cancer cells avoid the immune system by hiding. Immunotherapy aids the immune system’s ability to identify and eliminate cancer cells. For advanced testicular cancer, immunotherapy is occasionally employed

Can testicular cancer be self-diagnosed?

Follow the below steps for self-examining your testicles:

  1.  Examine both testicles: Roll each testicle gently but forcefully between the forefingers and the thumb. The testicles should be equally stiff all around, although a slight difference in size is normal
  2. Discover the epididymis and vas deferens. These are tender and tube-like structures above and behind the testicle. Sperm is collected and transported by these tubes. You can feel for these tubes as well during the self-examination
  3. Keep an eye out for tumours, swollen areas, lumps or bumps, even if they are painless
  4. Perform at least one self-check each month. Aim to look for changes in texture, size, or shape

Is it possible to recover from testicular cancer?

Dr. Keertana

Dr. Keertana

A medical writer with a Doctorate in Pharmacy, she writes vividly about medicine and science. Read her contributions and writings about various healthcare topics.

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