Testicular cancer risk factors, when present, don’t necessarily mean that a man will develop a testicular tumor, but they do mean that he should be particularly vigilant about his health. If a man with risk factors develops any unusual symptoms, he should report them to his physician and be sure to mention his medical history. This can help his physician arrive at a prompt and accurate diagnosis in the event that testicular cancer does develop.
Common risk factors for testicular cancer
The most common risk factors for testicular cancer include the following:
Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism)
For men with cryptorchidism, one or both testicles fail to move to the scrotum before birth. Men with this condition have an increased risk for developing testicular cancer, and that risk may be higher for men whose undescended testicle stayed in the abdomen as opposed to descending part of the way. Orchiopexy (surgery to move the undescended testicle to the scrotum) can possibly reduce the risk of developing testicular cancer if it is done when the patient is younger.
Hypospadias is a relatively common birth defect in which the urethral opening is not located at the tip of the penis, but rather along its underside. This abnormality can be corrected with surgery, but it has been linked with an increased risk for developing testicular cancer.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Men with HIV, and those with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by HIV, are shown to have a slightly higher risk for developing testicular cancer.
Personal and family history
Men who have a personal history of testicular cancer have a slightly higher risk of developing cancer in the other testicle at some point in their life. Additionally, having a father or brother who has had testicular cancer also increases risk. The genetically inherited disease Kleinfelter’s syndrome has also been shown to increase risk for testicular cancer.
While testicular cancer can affect males of any age, about 50 percent of testicular cancers occur in men between the ages of 20 and 34.
Race and ethnicity
Testicular cancer can affect men of any race or ethnicity; however, for unknown reasons, Caucasian males are four to five times more likely to develop testicular cancer than those of other races. This risk has shown to be highest among the Caucasian men residing in the United States and Europe.
The oncologists in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Urologic Oncology Program can help patients assess their own unique risk profiles and develop appropriate surveillance or treatment plans, if necessary. Our testicular cancer program offers a complete range of advanced diagnostic tools in a single, convenient location, and we never require referrals. For more information about the risk factors for testicular cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form to meet with one of our highly specialized oncologists.