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What is Testicular Cancer?

Cancer that develops in a testicle is called testicular cancer. The testicles are part of the male reproductive system, and produce sperm and several male hormones, including testosterone.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 8,290 new cases of testicular cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2011 in the United States.

Testicular cancer is the most common solid tumor diagnosed in men between the ages of 15 and 35, but it is still relatively rare; a man's lifetime chance of developing testicular cancer is about 1 in 270. Because treatment is so successful, the risk of dying from this cancer is very low: about 1 in 5,000.

Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer. When testicular cancer spreads, the cancer cells are carried by blood or by lymph, an almost colorless fluid produced by tissues all over the body. The fluid passes through lymph nodes, which filter out bacteria and other abnormal substances such as cancer cells.

At Stanford, our Urologic Cancer physicians have made great strides in treating testicular cancer over the past few decades, and offer advanced surgical, radiation and drug therapy treatments in a supportive environment.


Germ cell tumors

More than 90% of cancers of the testicle develop in special cells known as germ cells. These are the cells that produce sperm. There are 2 main types of germ cell tumors (GCTs) in men: seminomas and non-seminomas. These 2 types occur about equally.

Some cancers contain both non-seminoma and seminoma cells. These are treated as non-seminomas because they grow and spread like non-seminomas.

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