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Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. It can occur in older men and, rarely, in younger boys. Caucasian men are more likely to develop testicular cancer than African-Americans and Asian Americans.

Types of Testicular Cancer

There are two main types of testicular cancer:

  • Seminomas are slow growing and very sensitive to radiation therapy.
  • Nonseminomas tend to grow more quickly and are often made up of more than one type of cell, including choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and Yolk sac tumor.

Causes of Testicular Cancer

The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Factors that may increase a man's risk for testicular cancer include:

  • Abnormal testicle development
  • A history of testicular cancer
  • A history of undescended testicle
  • Klinefelter syndrome.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • HIV infection

Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer

Physicians may use the following tests to confirm a diagnosis of testicular cancer:

  • Complete medical history
  • Physical exam
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • PET scan

Your physician may also order blood tests to help determine the diagnosis, including a complete blood count (CBC), liver function and tumor markers.

Treatment By Stage

Testicular cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the tumor and your overall health.

Stage I Testicular Cancer

Stage I cancer has not spread beyond the testicle; the usual treatment is orchiectomy, or removal of the testicle.

Stage II Testicular cancer

Stage II cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen. Treatment will include orchietomy and removal of nearby lymph nodes.

If the tumor is a seminoma, radiation therapy using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays may be used after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning. Chemotherapy, used for both seminomas and nonseminomas, has greatly improved survival rates.

Stage III Testicular cancer

Stage III testicular cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes. Treatment usually involves surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Clinical Trials and Research

As a teaching hospital affiliated with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center offers you and your loved ones access to innovative treatments and technologies as soon as they are made available, whether in the development and testing phases, or after FDA approval. Patients who qualify also have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of treatments that would not otherwise be available to them.