9 Things Men Should Know About Testicular Cancer

October 08,2020 |

Cancer begins when healthy cells mutate, and the growth rate of these mutated cells quickens. Cancer can develop on almost every part of our body and the increased rate of cellular growth results in a tumor. While not all tumors are cancerous (malignant), it’s important to get a biopsy to be sure. Malignant tumors and mutated cells can spread to other areas of your body and once this happens, it’s much harder to cure. Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that results in an unhealthy change of the cells in the testicles. Although testicular cancer is considered rare, it’s still a very real and can occur in men of any age. As with many other cancers, the treatment of testicular cancer relies on the stage in which it’s caught, so it’s important to see your doctor regularly and perform self-examinations in between visits. To help you stay prepared and make sure that you’re staying healthy, here are 9 things men should know about testicular cancer.

  1. Important Facts About Testicular Cancer

    Testicular cancer tends to originate in germ cells, which are the cells that are responsible for making sperm. There are two different types of cancers that are common in these germ cells—seminomas and nonseminomas. Seminoma testicular cancers are often less aggressive, grow slowly, and can occur regardless of age. Nonseminomas tend to occur earlier in men, are more aggressive, and spread quickly. There are multiple different types of nonseminoma tumors, so it’s important to talk to your doctor for a better understanding of your individual case. To eradicate the malignant cells, many doctors approach this treatment with surgery. Higher rates of testicular cancer are found more commonly in men between the ages of 15 and 44, but it can occur at any age. Treatment for testicular cancer depends on the type of cancer it is and what stage it’s in.

  2. Testicular Cancer Can Develop in One or Both Testicles

    One thing to note is that testicular cancer often does not affect both testes at the same time. Since our body’s aren’t inherently symmetrical, and each teste functions separately as part of a whole, many men only have cancerous cells in one testicle. However, that’s not to say that it’s impossible to get cancer in both testicles simultaneously—it just depends on your circumstances.

  3. Testicular Pain is Not Normal

    While injury or trauma will undoubtedly lead to pain in the testicles, pain in general is not normal. If you’re feeling any kind of residual pain during your normal activities or in general, call your urologist as soon as possible to get an exam.

  4. Treatment Doesn’t Always Lead to Infertility

    One other important piece of information regarding testicular cancer is that it doesn’t always lead to infertility. While there are some cases which require surgery that could impact fertility, most men are able to have kids after treatment. If your treatment plan could affect your ability to have kids, talk to your doctor about sperm extraction or other pre-surgical fertility options that you can take.

  5. The Importance of Self-Examinations

    While it’s critical to go to your doctor for regular checkups, self-examinations are just as important. Men usually only see their doctor once a year and since many cases of cancer occur gradually, it’s important to keep an eye out for warning signs during the months between your visit. Aim to perform about one self-exam per month and if you notice anything strange, call your doctor. Not all lumps are cancerous, but you will need to have them properly examined and biopsied to be sure.

  6. The Risk Factors of Testicular Cancer

    There are a few things that can increase your chance of developing testicular cancer, but these risk factors are not a direct cause of cancer. However, knowing what your risk factors are is a good way to be prepared and to stay ahead of any problems. The risk factors of testicular cancer include age, cryptorchidism, family history, personal history, race, and HIV or AIDS.

  7. Key Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

    There are a few signs and symptoms of testicular cancer aside from noticing some sort of lump or bump during a self-examination or doctor’s examination. If you have any pain or discomfort in your scrotum or testes, notice a dull ache in your lower abdomen, back, or groin, or feel like your scrotum is getting heavier, it’s important to contact your doctor. You may also notice an enlargement of one or both testicles alongside the sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum. If any of these symptoms occur, with or without the presence of a lump, call your doctor to get the proper testing and diagnosis.

  8. What to Expect Regarding Testing and Diagnosis?

    For whatever reason, men are more reluctant to see their doctors than women. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental in how your treatment progresses. When caught early, testicular cancer has a very positive outlook. However, you need to get the proper treatment and diagnosis for this to occur.

    If you’re at your doctor’s office due to the presence of one or more symptom, your doctor will begin the visit with a physical examination to check for any lumps or bumps. If there is anything present that indicates testicular cancer, your doctor may proceed with an ultrasound, blood tests, chest x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan, and a biopsy. Your tests will depend on your doctor’s opinion regarding your symptoms but be prepared to go through a myriad of tests for the proper diagnosis. Before you go to your appointment, make a list of any questions you have and physically write them down.

    The Different Stages of Testicular Cancer

    If your doctor finds symptoms that indicates a testicular cancer diagnosis, the next step is determining how severe the cancer is and whether or not it’s spread. It’s important to understand the stages of testicular cancer in order to undergo the best treatment plan possible. The main stages of testicular cancer are stage 0, stage I, stage II, and stage III.

    • Stage 0: Stage 0 is technically a warning sign that cancer could present itself. It’s often referred to as Germ Cell Neoplasia In Situ (GCNIS) and is localized in the seminal tubules.
    • Stage I (IA, IB, IS): Stage I is when the cancer is isolated in the testicles and has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.
    • Stage II (IIA, IIB, IIC): Stage II indicates spread to one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen but has not yet to other parts of the body.
    • Stage III (IIA, IIB, IIC): Stage III indicates spread past the lymph nodes in the abdomen and well into the body. In this stage, cancer could be detected anywhere, and your blood tests will indicate high levels of tumor markers.
  9. How Curable is Testicular Cancer?

    When caught early, testicular cancer has a very high cure rate. The general five-year survival rate for mem with testicular cancer is 95%, meaning that 95 out of every 100 men diagnosed with testicular cancer will live at least five years after diagnosis. If your testicular cancer has not spread past the testicles, this survival rate is much closer to 100. If you’re in a later stage of testicular cancer, the survival rate declines depending on the severity.

  10. Treatment Options

    The important thing about overcoming testicular cancer is to start treatment immediately and follow the recommendations of your doctor. Regardless of if the cancer is localized in the testicles or it’s already spread, surgery to remove the testicle is the best treatment option. If the cancer is localized, this may be your only treatment needed. If it’s spread, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove nearby lymph nodes, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of all three.

  11. Life After Treatment

After you’ve been treated for testicular cancer, many men begin to feel distress or loss. Surgery for testicular cancer can lead to confusing changes in your body and a general fear for the future. To help you cope with a testicular cancer diagnosis, do as much research as possible, go out of the way to take care of yourself, stay connected with your friends and family, and try to join a support group for testicular cancer survivors. It is possible for you to live a happy, healthy life after overcoming testicular cancer, but the process is different for everyone.


If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer, try to remain calm and have a positive outlook. There are a lot of treatment options that can help you get back to being cancer-free. During the process, regardless of the outcome, find a support group and don’t be afraid to ask your urologist any questions or discuss any concerns. If you haven’t been diagnosed with testicular cancer, but notice any signs or symptoms that cause alarm, call your doctor immediately. Seeing your urologist early will help ensure that problems are caught early and treated as soon as possible. To learn more about Byram Healthcare and how we can help you with a testicular cancer diagnosis, we’ve put together a short, introductory video which you can view here.