Testicular Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Testicular Cancer Causes and Risk Factors


How Common Testicular Cancer is

Actually, the disease is considered to be quite rare. In the UK, approximately 2,200 men face it each year. This amounts to approximately 1 % – 1 case of testicular cancer out of 100 cancer cases.

What Does a Risk Factor Mean?

A risk factor is anything that makes you more prone to getting the disease. You should know that they vary in accordance with the type of cancer. At the same time, even if you have one or several risk factors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll face the disease.

We provide a list of risk factors for testicular cancer as well as their description in this article. Scientist are also trying to find out other factors that may contribute to the risk of getting the disease.

Undescended Testicle

The risk factor that’s of paramount importance in case of testicular cancer is undescended testicle that’s also called cryptorchidism. While a male baby is in the mother’s womb there start to develop testicles in his abdomen. When the baby is born, the testicles get in the scrotum. This may as well happen during the first year of a baby’s life. In case the testicles move down later or there is a need to carry out a surgical operation with the view of bringing them down, such a case is referred to as undescended testicle. According to the studies published in 2013, this case is actually considered to increase the risk of testicular cancer 3 times. However, since the disease is rare, there risk is relatively small.

In the majority of cases, the testicles get down by the time a man reaches a puberty age. Besides, a patient may be said to undergo a surgical operation to bring them down. If there are no measures taken by the time a patient is 13 years old, the risk of facing the disease is 6 times higher.

Carcinoma in Situ of the Testicle

CIS implies that there are abnormal cells present in the testicle. However, since they are completely contained, they can’t spread unlike the cancer cells. CIS doesn’t mean that you have cancer. At the same time, if you don’t treat it, it will result in cancer at some time. This happens in approximately 50% of cases. In case you’re dealing with CIS, there are no such symptoms like a lump. There may be no symptoms at all. CIS is most often detected with the help of a testicular biopsy carried out with the view of investigating infertility. Do not forget that CIS can be cured. The treatment involves the removal of the testicle so that to prevent the development of testicular cancer.

Having Fertility Problems

Doctors have been assuming that there is some connection between testicular cancer, fertility problems and poor sperm quality. Studies have proved that those men who have fertility problems have also an increased risk of facing the disease. The list of detected problems included low semen concentration, sperm not moving around as much as it should move, high concentration of abnormal sperm.

There, actually, exist a connection between infertility and testicular cancer. However, no exact reasons for it have been found yet. Doctors assume that it may be due to the fact that some risk factors of infertility and testicular cancer coincide. At the same time, since the overall risk of testicular cancer is relatively small, there is a really small increase of the risk for men who have fertility problems.

Suffering from Cancer Before

Testicular Cancer Risk Factors and Causes

Those men, who had testicular cancer before, have an increased risk of the disease recurrence. The risk increases 12 times. Therefore, they are strongly recommended to attend follow up appointments once the treatment is finished.

Cases of Testicular Cancer in Family

Those men, who have brothers or are sons of men who dealt with testicular cancer, have a higher risk of facing the disease themselves. Actually, if a man’s father suffered from the disease, the risk increases 4 times. If a man has a brother who suffered from the disease, the risk increases 8 times.

In 2009 it was found out that some increase of the risk was due to the changes occurring in particular genes. However, there is still a need to detect more gene changes to state that it’s for sure. Scientist are trying to identify them. In future, tests may be needed to carry out to define those men who are more prone to having testicular cancer.

The UK scientists carry out a genetical study of testicular cancer aiming to detect the genes that may make the risk higher. More than 3,000 men who suffered from testicular cancer will be said to give a small blood sample. It will then be studied under microscope so that to detect any genes that can increase the risk of having the disease. Since the trial will only be ended in 2016, it’s not likely for the results to be available very soon.

Those men, who have family members suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and oesophageal cancer, are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Having Other Medical Conditions

Here the most important thing is that those men who were born with either penis abnormality or urethra abnormality (the case is also called hypospadias) are more prone to having the disease than men in general population. The same refers to those suffering from inguinal hernia. This disease implies that there is a lump located in the area of the groin. The reason for its occurrence is a part of the intestine (bowel) that slips through the part of the abdominal wall that’s weak.

Suffering from HIV or AIDS

The results of combined analysis prove that those men who have either HIV or AIDS are more likely to be diagnosed with the testicular cancer. However, in the majority of cases, there is no connection between testicular cancer and being HIV positive.

Certain Ethnic Background

Particular racial or social groups are more likely to have testicular cancer. In the UK, white men are 4 times more prone to getting testicular cancer than Afro-American men. A study carried out proved that white men are more prone to getting the disease than men from any other ethnic groups. There is no explanation for this.

Calcium Specks Being Present in the Testicle

Testicular Cancer - Causes and Risk Factors

The case when there is calcium detected in the testicles is referred to as microlithiasis and pronounced like mike-row-lith-eye-a-sis. Since it’s very often detected by chance, it’s quite complicated to know exactly the number of men who deal with it. Scientists assume that the disease affects approximately from 2 to 6 men out of 100 (2 to 6 %). Doctors, as a rule, detect TM (or testicular microlithiasis) with the help of an ultrasound examination. The disease is detected when testicular symptoms are being checked. The list of possible symptoms includes painful sensations and swelling in the testicle.

Even though, according to some studies, there is a connection between TM and testicular cancer, a research that has been carried out recently hasn’t found any increase of the testicular cancer if a man is suffering from TM and are otherwise healthy. However, those men who had TM as well as other testicular cancer risk factors (for example, infertility and undescended testicle) were more prone to having the testicular cancer.

If there are any calcium specks detected in your testicles, you are to consult your doctor so that he or she is able to keep an eye on your symptoms. However, there exist no guides on how exactly should your doctor monitor the state of your health. Therefore, your GP is to talk your situation over with you so that both of you can make a decision based on what treatment will be more efficient in your particular case. The most important thing is that in case you suffer from TM and you see that there is a swelling on your testicle, you should go to your doctor as soon as possible.


There is some evidence proving that those men who are taller than average are more prone to be diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Having a Testicular Injury

Even though there is no known connection between either injury or sporting strains and testicular cancer, they may be reasons for swelling and lumps in the testicle. Consequently, it will be complicated to detect the tumor. If your testicles have been injured or there is any swelling, consult your GP and go through the necessary examinations.

Pregnancy Factors

During the period from 1940s to early 1970s, doctors, as a rule, prescribed DES (a certain drug called diethylstilbestrol) to those pregnant women who had pregnancy problems on their medical records. Lots of studies have been carried out aiming to see whether a baby that’s exposed to DES while in the womb has an increased risk of testicular cancer. However, according to a meta- analysis of the study, there is no any significant increase of the disease for those babies that were exposed to DES. At the same time, there is an increased risk of the boys having undescended testicle. Since undescended testicle serves as a risk factor for the testicular cancer, there may be an indirect link.

If a man’s mother had bleeding while she was pregnant, his risk of facing testicular cancer is higher. Still, those who have older brothers and sisters are less likely to face it. Having a low weight at birth may as well increase your risk of having undescended testicle. At the same time, we can’t tell you for sure whether birth weight is directly linked with testicular cancer risk.

Twins have a higher risk of the disease especially if both of them are boys. Do not forget that the disease is considered to be rare. Therefore, the risk is relatively small.

Undergoing Vasectomy

No connection has yet been found between a vasectomy procedure and testicular cancer. Even though there was a study suggesting the link, it hasn’t turned out to be true.

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