Testicular cancer occurs most frequently in men between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can occur in older men as well. Rare types of tumors can develop in extremely young men as well as those of advanced age. Race also plays a part in testicular cancer as Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African Americans and Asian Americans.
There are two general categories of tumors: seminomas and non-seminomas. Risk factors include abnormal testicular development, history of testicular cancer, undescended testicles and congenital abnormalities.
The symptoms typically include pain in the testicle or scrotum, a testicular mass which is easily palpable or enlargement of the testicle, weight loss, and back pain. Evaluation typically includes physical examination, scrotal ultrasound, further x-rays to assess for any progression of the disease as well as blood tests which look for tumor markers such as alpha-fetoprotein and chorionic gonadotropin.
Treatment options typically include removal of the affected testicle to assess the type of tumor as well as follow up radiologic imaging and blood testing to assess as to whether the disease has progressed. Further treatment may be necessary including possible radiation therapy or chemotherapy and becoming more popular is observation with careful follow with radiologic imaging to be sure that the disease is not recurrent in both that have been treated with chemotherapy and radiation as well as those that are simply being followed after removal of the testicle alone. The disease can progress into the lymph nodes and other parts of the abdomen as well as the lungs, spine and brain with advanced disease. The prognosis in patients even with advanced disease oftentimes is quite good.