This section is for teenagers and young adults. It’s about a type of testicular cancer called teratoma. This is the most common type of testicular cancer in teenagers. If you have a different type of testicular cancer and want to know more, you could talk to us.
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It's important to remember that treatment for testicular cancer is really successful and nearly everyone is cured.
There are different types of testicular cancer. Teratoma is one of the most common, along with another type called seminoma. Teratomas usually affect young guys of 15-35 years old. Seminomas usually affect men of 25-55 years old.
Although we use the word teratoma (as it’s easier to say), the correct term is Non-Seminomatous Germ Cell Tumours (NSGCTs). They start in sperm-producing cells called germ cells.
We have more information about the testicles, other organs near them and other types of testicular cancer.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer
These are the main symptoms:
- A lump or a swelling in a testicle (that’s usually painless) - this is the most common symptom. Occasionally the swelling suddenly increases and becomes painful.
- Pain or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles).
There might also be other symptoms if the cancer has spread:
- Pain in your back, groin or lower tummy - this is if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes at the back of the tummy.
- Tender or swollen nipples - this isn’t common but can be caused by hormones produced by the cancer.
Most lumps and swellings, especially in the epididymis (the tube at the top behind the testicle), aren’t cancer. But it’s important to get any lump or swelling or any of the other symptoms here checked by your family doctor (GP) straight away.
We have more information about checking your testicles. This info is written for anyone who's looking for information about testicular cancer, not just for young adults.
So I spoke to my Mother and she obviously said that she wasn't particularly an expert in that field of body matters so she, I spoke to my Father and he said that it wasn't right.
Some guys find it difficult to tell their parent(s) or guardian(s) about a problem to do with their private parts. But it’s important to try to talk to them - they’ll want to help and support you as much as they can. If you really feel you can't talk to them, you can see your doctor on your own. You don't have to say what’s wrong when you make an appointment - if anyone asks, tell them it's private. Doctors are used to dealing with problems to do with private parts of the body, so try not to feel embarrassed. If you don’t want to see your doctor, you can get checked out at your local sexual health clinic where you don't have to give your name. You can find the number online or in your local phone book. The important thing is to make sure you get any symptoms checked out by a doctor straight away.
Remember - testicular cancer can nearly always be cured and it’s easier to treat when it’s found early.
We don't know what causes testicular cancer, but research into this is ongoing. Testicular cancer is still rare, but numbers are rising for reasons we don’t know.
We do know that there are some things that can increase the chances of getting testicular cancer:
- Having one or both testicles that didn't come down (descend) into the scrotum as a baby and needing an operation to correct this.
- Having a dad or brother who’s had testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is more common in white guys than in black or Asian guys. We don’t know why this is.
Having an injury or sporting strains to the testicles doesn’t cause testicular cancer. But if you get an injury and have any swelling or a lump, get it checked by your doctor.
Remember that nothing you’ve done has caused the cancer.
If you're worried about testicular cancer
If you think you might have any of the symptoms of testicular cancer, you should go straight to your GP. They'll be able to talk to you about your symptoms, and if they think they could be because of cancer they can do tests to find out more.
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