The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Factors that may increase a man's risk of developing testicular cancer increases if he has:
- Abnormal testicle development
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- Family history of testicular cancer
- HIV infection
- History of testicular cancer
- History of an undescended testicle
(one or both testicles fail to move into the scrotum before birth)
- Klinefelter syndrome
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. It can occur in older men, and in rare cases, in younger boys.
White men are more likely than African American and Asian American men to develop this type of cancer.
There is no link between vasectomy and testicular cancer.
There are two main types of testicular cancer, seminomas and nonseminomas. These cancers grow from germ cells, the cells that make sperm.
Seminoma: This is a slow-growing form of testicular cancer usually found in men in their 30s and 40s. The cancer is usually just in the testes, but it can spread to the lymph nodes. Seminomas are very sensitive to radiation therapy.
Nonseminoma: This more common type of testicular cancer tends to grow more quickly than seminomas.
Nonseminoma tumors are often made up of more than one type of cell, and are identified according to these different cell types:
- Choriocarcinoma (rare)
- Embryonal carcinoma
- Yolk sac tumor
A stromal tumor is a rare type of testicular tumor. They are usually not cancerous. The two main types of stromal tumors are Leydig cell tumors and Sertoli cell tumors. Stromal tumors usually occur during childhood.