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Testicular Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of one or both testicles. Testicular cancer is most common in young or middle-aged men.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles.

The testicles are 2 egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly below the penis). The testicles are held within the scrotum by the spermatic cord, which also contains the vas deferens and vessels and nerves of the testicles.

The testicles are the male sex glands and produce testosterone and sperm. Germ cells within the testicles produce immature sperm that travel through a network of tubules (tiny tubes) and larger tubes into the epididymis (a long coiled tube next to the testicles) where the sperm mature and are stored... Read more about Testicular Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Screening for testicular cancer

Testicular cancer commonly affects men aged between 20 and 35 years. It accounts up to 2% of cancers diagnosed in men, although the lifetime risk of mortality is less than 1%. Screening for testicular cancer is commonly performed by physician, who performs a physical examination, or self‐examination by the patient. However, there is little evidence that documents the accuracy of such examinations. This review identified that no randomised controlled trials have been performed to evaluate the effectiveness of screening for testicular cancer. In the absence of high quality evidence, male patients with an increased risk of developing testicular cancer should be informed of the potential benefits and harms associated with screening.

Prepubertal orchiopexy for cryptorchidism may be associated with lower risk of testicular cancer

PURPOSE: Current indications for orchiopexy are to decrease the risk of infertility and to facilitate testicular self-examination. Although the increased risk of germ cell cancer in cryptorchid testes is undisputed, it is unclear whether orchiopexy affects the natural history of testis cancer development. We hypothesize that early orchiopexy is protective against subsequent development of testicular germ cell cancer.

Positron emission testing for six cancers (brain, cervical, small cell lung, ovarian, pancreatic and testicular): testicular cancer

This review investigated the diagnostic accuracy of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for testicular cancer. Given the poor-quality studies available, the authors appropriately state that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the use of FDG-PET in characterising residual disease. However, it may be overoptimistic to conclude that FDG-PET is superior to computed tomography for the initial staging of patients.

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Summaries for consumers

Testicular Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for testicular cancer.

Testicular Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of testicular cancer.

Screening for testicular cancer

Testicular cancer commonly affects men aged between 20 and 35 years. It accounts up to 2% of cancers diagnosed in men, although the lifetime risk of mortality is less than 1%. Screening for testicular cancer is commonly performed by physician, who performs a physical examination, or self‐examination by the patient. However, there is little evidence that documents the accuracy of such examinations. This review identified that no randomised controlled trials have been performed to evaluate the effectiveness of screening for testicular cancer. In the absence of high quality evidence, male patients with an increased risk of developing testicular cancer should be informed of the potential benefits and harms associated with screening.

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Terms to know

Gamete (Germ Cell)
An egg (in the female) or sperm (in the male) cell.
Penis
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.
Scrotum
In males, the external sac that contains the testicles.
Sperm
The male reproductive cell, formed in the testicle. A sperm unites with an egg to form an embryo.
Testicles (Testes)
One of two egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Also called testicle.
Vas Deferens
A coiled tube that carries the sperm out of the testes.

More about Testicular Cancer

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Malignant tumour of the testis, Malignant tumor of the testis

Other terms to know: See all 6
Gamete (Germ Cell), Penis, Scrotum

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