What Are the Causes of Testicular Cancer?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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The underlying causes of testicular cancer are not currently known, but there are a number of factors that can increase the risk. If the testicles are undescended, for example, the chances of testicular cancer are heightened. This may be linked to the condition testicular dysgenesis syndrome, which is thought to be one of the most common causes of testicular cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, infertility, height and skin color.

All forms of cancer are caused by the structure of DNA mutating, thereby resulting in cells continuing to reproduce in an uncontrollable manner. This results in a tumor. Once a tumor has formed in the testicles, it will start to spread throughout the body if left untreated, which is why early detection is essential. There are a number of risk factors that are thought to increase the chances of developing the condition.

When the testicles are undescended, a condition known as cryptorchidism, the chances of getting testicular cancer are increased. There are surgical procedures for this condition, but the longer treatment is delayed, the greater the risk of testicular cancer. If an operation is carried out to correct undescended testicles before the age of 13, then the risk is doubled; if it is carried out after this age, the risk is five times higher.


Some doctors believe there is a condition known as testicular dysgenesis syndrome and that it is one of the major causes of testicular cancer. This suspected condition may cause symptoms such as undescended testicles, low sperm count and hypospadias. The latter is a condition that causes the urethra to form in the wrong place. These three symptoms, along with testicular cancer, have become increasingly common in recent years, leading doctors to suspect that there is a link.

Other common causes of testicular cancer include smoking and infertility. Smokers are around twice as likely to get the disease, depending on how many cigarettes they smoke on a daily basis. Infertile men also are more likely to develop the disease, and it has been shown that taller men also are at a greater risk.

Genetic factors are among the many potential causes of testicular cancer. People who have brothers with the disease are more likely to suffer from testicular cancer. In the U.S., white men are about five times as likely to get the disease as black men. Men are more likely to suffer from this condition when they are between the ages of 20 and 40; other cancers more commonly are diagnosed later in life.


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