Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a medical condition in which some cells in the testicles turn cancerous. The condition can occur at any age, but it tends to affect mostly those in the 20 to 39 year old age range. In fact, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer among males in the 15 to 34 year old age group. The disease also tends to strike white males of Scandinavian heritage more than any other group.

It is interesting to note that while the number of cases of this type of cancer has increased twofold over the past 40 years, its increase among black males was only observed fairly recently. At present, there is as yet no solid findings as to the cause of the larger number of such cancer cases among white males.

Where testicular cancer strikes

The primary organs affected by testicular cancer are the testicles. Also known as the testes or gonads, the testicles serve an essential role as the glands responsible for producing and storing sperm. In addition, the testicles are also the primary sources of the male hormone testosterone. These hormones are particularly important, since they affect the development of the male reproductive organs, as well as other physical characteristics inherent in males. Testicles are found in the scrotum, which is a fleshy pouch located under the penis.

Testicular cancer classification

Depending on the behaviour of the cells in the particular tumour, a specific case of this type of cancer may be referred to as a seminoma or nonseminoma. There are actually a few other types of such cancers, but they are very rare compared to these two types.

Seminomas themselves can be grouped into three classifications: classic, anaplastic, or spermatocytic. Nonseminomas for their part may be characterized as a choriocarcinoma, an embryonal carcinoma, a teratoma, or a tumour of the yolk sac. In many cases of testicular cancer, the tumour may be comprised of seminoma as well as nonseminoma cells.

Risk factors

While the disease whose causes are still a mystery in medical circles, there are a number of risk factors that have already been identified. Here, we list a few of the more common risk factors associated with the condition.

Undescended testicles. Also known as cryptorchidism, this condition occurs when the testicles remain in the abdomen. In most males, the testicles actually descend into the scrotum just before being born. It is thought that males with undescended testicles are at greater risk for developing testicular cancer. More alarmingly, the risk for getting the disease is not diminished by corrective surgery that moves the testicles into the proper position.

Congenital abnormality. Males that have abnormally formed testicles, penis, or kidneys, from birth are at greater risk of getting testicular cancer as well. This also goes for males diagnosed with an inguinal hernia.

Previous case of testicular cancer. Males that have already experienced testicular cancer in the past have a greater chance of developing the disease in the other testicle.

Family history. Finally, males that have an immediate family member who has had testicular cancer are at greater risk for developing the disease as well.