Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer can develop in one or both of the testicles, the body parts that produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm cells.

Although testicular cancer is very rare, it is the most common cancer type in young men between the ages of 15 and 35. Approximately 800 men in the Netherlands are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year. Luckily, the survival rates are 90 to 100%, as long as the cancer is detected early.

Find out more about the causes and symptoms, and the most commonly used diagnostic tests and treatment types for testicular cancer on this page.

Click here for more information about our Urology department, our work, and our specialists.

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rapid diagnostics

You can usually get rapid diagnostics within four days

Center of expertise

The Netherlands Cancer Institute is a center of expertise (NFU/EU certified) for testicular cancer treatment. A multidisciplinary team of specialists evaluates and discusses every instance of testicular cancer according to the patient’s test results and medical history and acts fact to find a personalized treatment plan, together with the patient.

Treatment team

Your medical team will consist of urologists, medical oncologists (internists), pathologists, radiologists, and radiation therapists. Our specialists excel at testicular cancer. Their focus group comes together every week for a multidisciplinary team meeting during which they will discuss your personal situation, test results, and medical history in order to find the treatment option that best fits you. Your practicing physician will discuss your options with you. At the Netherlands Cancer Institute, we value your thoughts and input on your treatment.

Causes and symptoms

Causes

The cause of most cases of testicular cancer is still unclear. Healthy cells in the testicles grow and divide in regular ways in order to regulate bodily functions like hormone production and fertility.

Sometimes these cells suddenly experience unregulated, aggressive division and growth in the testicles, forming a mass in the testicle(s). We call this testicular cancer. These tumors can spread to the lymph nodes or other abdominal organs.  

Symptoms

Common symptoms of testicular cancer are:

  • A swelling or lump in one or both testicle(s).
  • Pain in the area of the testicle.
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin behind the scrotum.
  • Sudden swelling or buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Increased sensitivity around the nipples.

Please contact your general practitioner if one or more of these symptoms occur and don’t disappear within 7 days. If needed, he or she will refer you for further testing.

Risk factors

There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing testicular cancer:

Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism). During development, both testicles are created in the abdomen of the fetus. Several weeks before birth, the testicles descend into the scrotum through a small tube called the inguinal canal. Men whose testicles did not descend properly appear to have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. This risk remains, even after the undescended testicle(s) have been surgically moved to the scrotum.

Family history of cancer. If someone in your family developed testicular cancer, you have an increased risk of developing a similar swelling yourself.

Age. Testicular cancer primarily occurs in teenagers and young men between the ages of 15 and 50. The cancer type can also develop in people older than 50.

Self-exams

Regular testicular self-exams are important for the early detection of cancer, which increases the chances of success of your treatment.

Click here for more information about self-exams.

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests may be done to confirm or rule out testicular cancer:

Treatment options

If you are considering having children, you can choose to freeze your sperm (sperm banking) before your treatment. We will refer you to the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC.
Your exact treatment options will depend on the tumor type and stage. Your overall health and shape will also affect your options. We will inform you about the process beforehand, and you will have plenty of time to ask questions. Your treatment will most likely consist of one or more of the following treatments: