Causes, risk factors and prevention
What causes testicular cancer?
The exact cause of testicular cancer is not known; however, there are a number of factors that increase the risk for the disease.
What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
The exact cause of this disease is unknown; however, research does show that some men are more likely than others to develop testicular cancer. Possible risk factors include the following:
- Age – testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 40.
- Cryptorchidism – undescended testicle(s) is the main risk factor for this cancer.
- Klinefelter’s syndrome – a sex chromosome disorder.
- Family history.
- Personal history of cancer in the other testicle.
- Race and ethnicity – the rate of testicular cancer is higher in Caucasians than in other populations.
- HIV infection.
- Men whose mothers took a hormone called DES (diethylstilbestrol) during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage.
Can testicular cancer be prevented?
Currently, there is not a method for preventing the disease because:
- There is not a known cause for the disease.
- Many of the suggested risk factors are those that cannot be changed.
- Many men with testicular cancer do not have the suggested risk factors.
However, testicular self-examination can improve the chances of finding a cancerous tumor early.
Testicular self-examination (TSE) procedure
- The best time for testicular self-examination is just after a warm bath or shower when the scrotal tissue is more relaxed.
- While standing in front of a mirror, place the thumbs on the front side of the testicle and support it with the index and middle fingers of both hands.
- Gently roll the testicle between the fingers and thumbs. Feel for lumps, hardness or thickness. Compare the feelings in each testicle.
- If you find a lump, see your physician as soon as possible.
Testicular self-examination is not a substitute for routine physical examinations by your physician.