Testicular cancer develops in one or both testicles — part of the reproductive system that produces male hormones and sperm. It is a highly curable cancer, particularly when you find and treat it early.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men, ages 20 to 35 years old. But it can develop at any age.
Testicular cancer symptoms
Testicular cancer symptoms include the following:
- A painless lump or swelling in the testicle(s)
- Feeling of heaviness or achiness in the lower abdomen or groin
- A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in the testicle(s) or scrotum
Having these signs does not necessarily mean you have testicular cancer. Other conditions have similar symptoms.
Types of testicular cancer
There are two types of testicular cancer:
- Nonseminoma: The most common type of testicular cancer. It tends to grow and spread (metastasize) more quickly than seminomas.
- Seminoma: A slow-growing cancer that typically stays just in the testes, but can spread to the lymph nodes. It is most common in men in their 30s and 40s.
Testicular cancer: what you should know
- Having one testicle removed (as part of your treatment) will not affect your sex drive or your ability to have an erection and experience orgasm.
- Infertility is one of the most serious side effects of testicular cancer treatment. If you want to have children, you can bank (or freeze) your sperm before starting treatment.
- If you had an undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) at birth, you have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
How can I get help for testicular cancer?
If your primary care doctor finds a lump and recommends further testing and evaluation, testicular cancer specialists at Rush can diagnose your condition and determine your treatment plan.
Care for testicular cancer at Rush
Your treatment options depend on the type and stage of the cancer and how fast it is growing. Your care may include one or more approaches:
- Surgery: Removes the testicle and some lymph nodes (to determine if the cancer has spread).
- Chemotherapy: Destroys the cancer cells and stops them from growing.
- Radiation therapy: Kills the cancer or keeps it from spreading.
- Stem cell transplant: Replaces and restores your body’s blood cells destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy.
- Watchful waiting: Monitors your condition closely — without any treatment — until your symptoms change. This is often the best approach if your testicular cancer is small and doesn’t appear to be growing.
Why choose Rush for testicular cancer care
- The urology program at Rush is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country in U.S. News and World Report.
- If you are facing infertility after testicular cancer treatment, specialists at the Rush Center for Advanced Reproductive Care collaborate with your urologist to determine the most effective fertility options. They can also guide you through cryopreservation to freeze your sperm before your cancer treatment.
- Researchers at Rush are constantly working on new and effective ways to preserve fertility in men with testicular cancer.
- The Rush University Cancer Center has received outstanding achievement awards from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The awards recognize programs that excel in providing quality cancer care.
- At Rush, you have access to the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, which offers complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage and yoga to help ease the mental and physical stress of treatment.