Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention of Testicular Cancer

causes of testicular cancer; risk factors associated with cancer of the testis; preventing testicular cancer; cancer of the testis
Medical Tutors Limited
July 24, 2021

10:39 AM

The cause of testicular cancer is quite unknown presently, but there are several risk factors associated with cancer of the testis.

What Causes Testicular Cancer?

Questions about what really cause testicular cancer has been asked severally yet unanswered. Most testicular cancers have been known to start from the germ cells, yet medical scientists and doctors haven’t been able to determine what causes the testicular cells to become cancerous.

Although, the exact cause of testicular cancer is relatively unknown, there are certain factors that may increase a person’s risk of having testicular cancer. These factors are referred to as risk factors.

Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

Risk factors are things that change a person’s chance of getting certain diseases especially cancer. Various cancers have quite a few risk factors; some can be changed e.g., diet, smoking while some can’t be changed e.g., age and family history.

When certain risk factors are identified in an individual, it does not mean he will get the cancer; same way not having the risk factors does not mean a person can’t have cancer. That is why if a person with testicular cancer has various risk factors, it is very difficult to determine the contribution of those risk factors to the cancer.

For testicular cancer, certain risk factors have been identified, and they include the following which can be viewed as either unchangeable (general risk factors and genetics) and unchangeable factors (other conditions).

General Risk Factors (Unchangeable)

The general risk factors are usually unchangeable due to conditions that the person with testicular cancer cannot be changed.

  • Gender: Testicular cancer only occur among the male gender.
  • Age: For testicular cancer, above 75% of males with this cancer are usually below the age of 44 years, with half of them occurring between the ages of 20 and 34 years. Yet, testicular cancer can occur and affect any male of any age including children and elderly men.
  • Ethnicity and Race: The risk of having testicular cancer is higher in the white race than blacks. The reason for this is unknown. That’s why the global risk of developing the disease is very much higher among men living in the United States and Europe than men living in Africa and Asia.

Genetics (Unchangeable)

  • Family History of Testicular Cancer: When close relatives such as an individual’s brother or father had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, there is an increased risk of a person’s being diagnosed with testicular cancer too, although approximately only 3% cases of testicular cancer occur in families. That is why most men with testicular cancer do not have family history of having the disease. Though inheritable disease such as Klinefelter’s syndrome has an increased risk of leading to testicular cancer.

Other Conditions (Changeable)

  • Cryptorchidism (Undescended Testicles): One of the main risk factors for testicular cancer is a condition called cryptorchidism. Cryptorchidism is a medical condition where one or both testicles fail to drop from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. This usually occur in about 3% of male born. Testicular cancer is likely to occur in males with cryptorchidism, and it is more likely to develop in the undescended testicles. But 1 in 4 cases of testicular cancer occurs in descended testicles.
  • HIV Infections: The risk of testicular cancer occurring in persons living with HIV is high according to certain medical research. It is higher in people who have developed AIDS.
  • Carcinoma in Situ: This is a non-invasive cancer occurring that may progress into an invasive cancer if not properly managed. Its progress is usually discovered during biopsy of the testicle because it doesn’t create any symptoms or mass tumor.
  • Previous History of Testicular Cancer: When a person has had testicular cancer in the past, there is an increased risk of testicular cancer occurring in the other testicle other than the one it was previously found.

Prevention of Testicular Cancer

Preventing testicular cancer is currently not possible due to its unknown reversible causes. Moreover, many men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer have no known risk factors, and those with known risk factors, such as undescended testicles, age, family history, cannot be changed. However, with early detection one can prevent further advancement or spread of testicular cancer cells, by prompt treatment.







[Next Article: Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer]

References: American Cancer Society; WHO; WebMD,

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