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What Are My Odds of Getting Testicular Cancer?

What Are My Odds of Getting Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer is rare, affecting 1 out of every 250 men a year, and is also one of the most curable cancers if detected early. Although it can affect males of any age, testicular cancer is known as “the young man’s disease” because it is most commonly diagnosed in men under 40. And about half of the cases diagnosed are in men between 20-34 years old.

Testicular cancer results from abnormal cell growth in the testicles. Symptoms can include swelling, heaviness or a lump in the scrotum, back pain or dull ache in the abdomen, or tenderness in the breast. But in some cases, men report having no symptoms at all. This form of cancer, like most, can travel to other areas of the body. It is most likely to affect the lymph nodes in the groin or abdomen and can spread through the bloodstream, affecting the brain and lungs.

Several risk factors can increase a man’s chances of developing testicular cancer, including race and family history. White men are four to five times more likely to develop testicular cancer than African- American and Asian-American men. Men who were born with undescended testicles are also at a greater risk of developing this form of cancer.

Testicular cancer is like breast cancer in that self-screening is important. Self-exams should be performed monthly, and any change, pain or abnormality should be discussed with your physician. Timing is key and in some cases the tumors can grow fast, so early detection can mean the difference in how the disease is treated.

The good news is that testicular cancer can be successfully treated, so the death rate is very low for this type of disease. Visit the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation to learn how to do a testicular self-exam.