Testicular cancer is a common type of cancer among young men, although it is less frequently discussed than other forms of the disease.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer is a cancer that occurs in the testicles. The testicles are two glands that are located inside the scrotum, a skin-covered sac that hangs behind and below the penis. The testicles produce sperm and male hormones, including testosterone.
Testicular cancer most commonly affects men between the ages of 20 and 34, but it can occur at any age. It is not common in men; about one man in every 300 has testicular cancer at some point in his life. In 2022, about 9,100 cases of testicular cancer were diagnosed in the United States and about 460 deaths from testicular cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Testicular cancer is a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 6% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 8% occur in men over the age of 55. And is more common in white men than in any other group.
Testicular cancer is treatable, but it can be life-threatening if not caught early. It usually begins as a small tumor in one of the two main types of cells that make up the testis (germ cells and Leydig cells). The tumor may cause no signs or symptoms early on. As it grows, it can press on nearby structures and cause pain or other symptoms.
Most cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed when they are small enough to be cured with surgery alone. However, some may spread beyond the testicle before they’re diagnosed, resulting in advanced disease that requires more treatment than surgery alone can provide.
Although researchers have identified few risk factors associated with testicular cancer, most men and boys with this disease do not have any of the known risk factors. Risk factors for testicular cancer include:
When one or both of your testicles don’t move down into the scrotum before birth, they are said to be undescended. The risk of developing testicular germ cell tumors is higher if both your testicles are still in your abdomen (abdominal testes) or if only one descended into your scrotum (unilateral cryptorchidism).
If a close relative (father or brother) has had testicular cancer at an early age, you may be at higher risk.
It occurs when a person has one extra X chromosome, which makes them genetically male. People with Klinefelter’s may have fertility problems and certain physical characteristics, such as low muscle tone and breast development. They may also have learning disabilities and a higher risk of developing other health problems, such as heart disease.
Klinefelter’s syndrome is an inherited disease that increases the risk of testicular cancer. This is because the cells that produce testosterone are affected by the syndrome, which can lead to both low levels of testosterone and a higher risk of developing cancerous tumors in the testicles. It lowers the body’s ability to fight off disease and infections.
Testicular cancer is a disease that affects men of all ages, including infants and elderly men. Half of testicular cancers occur in young men between the ages of 20 and 34.
Can Testicular Cancer Be Prevented?
There are no proven methods to prevent most cases of testicular cancer. Most men with this disease have no known risk factors, and some of the known risk factors—such as undescended testicles, white race, and a family history of the disease—cannot be changed. For these reasons, preventing or curing testicular cancer is not possible at this time.
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