Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

Men who are careful about their health often ask their doctor what might increase their risk for testicular cancer? They know that different cancers have different risk factors. Smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, and exposing skin to prolonged sun exposure is a risk factor for melanoma. So, males want to know what the risk factors are for testicular cancer.

The main risk factor as most doctors see it, for testicular cancer is having an undescended testicle. There is a 10% occurrence of testicular cancer occurring in men who have had cryptorchidism. Typically the testicles will move from into the scrotum shortly after birth of a male child or sometime before the child is 3 months of age.

Sometimes the testicle starts to descend, but then gets stuck in the groin area. Sometimes undescended testicles can continue to move down into the scrotum during the male’s first year of life. If the testicles do not move down on their own, a surgical procedure called orchiopexy is performed to bring the testicle down into the scrotum.

If the testicle descended at least partway the risk seems to be less than if the testicle stayed in the abdomen. Usually the cancer occurs in the undescended testicle, but in as many as 25% of the cases it is the testicle that did descend that gets the cancer. Doctors believe that there may be something that causes both the undescended testicle and the testicular cancer.

Genetic Factors

A family history of testicular cancer increases the risk for a son, brother or male twin. This occurs in only 3% of the testicular cancer cases though.

If a male has testicular cancer in one of his testicles, than he has a 3 or 4% chance of receiving cancer in the other testicle.

Having carcinoma in situ which is an overgrowth of cells can lead to cancer. Sometimes during fertility treatment a biopsy is done on the male’s testicle and it is this biopsy that may lead to carcinoma in situ (CIS).

Demographical Factors

Testicular cancer can happen to males at any age, but the risk seems to be higher for males that are between the ages of 20 and 35.

Testicular cancer also seems to be a higher percentage for white males.

There have been some studies that have shown that males who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at an increased risk for developing testicular cancer.

There are some studies that have shown that tall men are at a higher risk for testicular men than males who are not tall.

Although the above risk factors seem to be documented in some cases there are plenty of other cases where males have been diagnosed with testicular cancer and have none of the above risk factors.