Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer can affect one or both of the testicles, which are the two small, oval organs at the base of the penis that produce testosterone and sperm. There are several different types of cells in the testicles, any of which can develop into cancer. The types of primary testicular tumors are:

  • Germ cell tumors – these tumors begin in the cells that make sperm; about 9 out of 10 testicular cancers are germ cell tumors
  • Stromal tumors – these tumors begin in the cells that make hormones and the supportive tissues of the testicles; stromal tumors usually do not spread from the testicles

Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 7,920 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually. There is about a 1 in 270 chance that a man will develop testicular cancer in his lifetime, though most cases of testicular cancer respond extremely well to treatment.

Risk factors include:

  • Having an undescended testicle
  • Having a family history of testicular cancer
  • Having HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Being white
  • Being between the ages of 20 and 34 (about half of all cases occur in this age range)

Signs & Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Symptoms of early-stage testicular cancer include a lump on the testicle, swelling of one testicle, or an aching feeling in the scrotum area. Indications of advanced-stage testicular cancer may include:

  • Blood in saliva of phlegm
  • A persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Testicular Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Testicular cancer is usually detected, diagnosed and treated in its early stages because lumps in the testicles can be seen and felt fairly easily, though there is usually no pain. Testicular exams are usually part of most general physical exams performed by your doctor. Should you exhibit symptoms or be at an especially high risk for developing this disease, your doctor may recommend:

  • Alpha fetoprotein blood test (AFB test)
  • B-hCG assay
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) test
Treatment for testicular cancer will usually take the form of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Testicular Cancer Education, Screenings & Treatment at BayCare

BayCare is proud to offer a variety of cancer services throughout Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and all of Tampa Bay. Call (855) 314-8346 for a physician referral or find a doctor near you.