A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
If you are male, it is possible to develop testicular cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing testicular cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for testicular cancer include the following:
You are at greatest risk between the ages of 20-35 years. Out of 100,000 men in this age group, 8-14 men will get testicular cancer. There is also a small increase in risk during early childhood.
Normally the testicles, which are inside the abdomen before birth, migrate into the scrotum by the time of birth. Occasionally though, boys are born with testicles that are still in the abdomen or in the groin, not having completed their journey to the scrotum. This is called undescended testicles.
Having one or more undescended testicles is a major risk factor for testicular cancer. Nearly 15% of cases of testicular cancer occur in men with a history of undescended testicles. They should be moved into the scrotum or removed entirely as early as possible to reduce the risk of cancer.
It should be noted that surgical correction of the undescended testicle does not prevent a future cancerous tumor, but it does make it easier to detect.
Other medical conditions that can increase your risk of testicular cancer include:
Testicular cancer occurs 5 times more often in Caucasian men than in African American men.
Being of a higher socioeconomic status also puts you at higher risk for testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003142-pdf.pdf. Accessed September 17, 2014.
Testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 31, 2012. Accessed September 17, 2014.
Testicular cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/testicular-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 17, 2014.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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