Common Testicular Cancers and Their Complications


What is Testicular cancer ?

Testicular cancer is a type of cancer (out of control/abnormal cell growth) that initiates in the testicles, an essential part of the male reproductive system. The testicles are responsible for generating male hormones such as testosterone and sperm, which fertilize a female egg cell to initiate a pregnancy. Cancer in the testicles impairs their function. In this blog, we will learn about the three common testicular cancers and their complications.


Seminoma Germ Cell Tumors

A seminoma germ cell tumor is a type of testicular cancer that does not proliferate. It spreads slowly around the body, in the majority of cases. There are primarily two types of seminoma germ cell tumors:

Classical Seminoma

Classical seminoma comprises of large cells containing abundant cytoplasm, divided into sheets or cords by connective tissue septae. More than 95% of seminomas are classical, and they occur in men between the ages of 25 and 45. This type of tumor arises from sperm-producing cells within the male testicles, that grow uncontrollably.

Spermatocytic Seminoma

This is a rare type of seminoma and mainly occurs in older men, aged 65 years or above, on average. Spermatocytic seminoma tumors grow slow and are less likely to spread to other parts of the body, in comparison to the classical seminomas. An intrascrotal mass, or painless mass, in the scrotum indicates the presence of this disease. A long-standing swelling may be noted, causing a feeling of heaviness in the testicle.

Treating Seminomas

Historically, most patients with these tumors have been given radiation treatment following orchidectomy (removal of the testicle). However, recent clinical trials suggest that chemotherapy may be more advantageous. Adjuvant treatment may also be an option for patients with a higher risk of cancer recurrence. Adjuvant chemotherapy may also be considered for those who do not want to risk radiation therapy’s long-term side effects, or the anxiety associated with the regular surveillance testing post-surgery.


Non-Seminomatous Germ Cell Tumor

Non-seminomatous germ cell tumor is another type of common testicular cancer. It usually occurs in men between their late teens and early 30s. The most prevalent type of non-seminomatous germ cell tumor is:


Teratoma is a type of germ cell tumor that arises from sperm precursors. It accounts for 40% of testicular cancers and is most common in the age range of 20 and 30 years. In most of the cases, teratomas are seen as parts of mixed germ cell tumors. Most patients with this type of cancer are usually healthy and suffer painless enlargement of one testicle.

To diagnose teratoma, a doctor will examine your testicles. The physician will first feel the normal testicle, for comparison, and then examine the abnormal testicle for any lumps or indications of thickening. A doctor will also feel the lymph nodes in your groin and abdomen, to determine any enlargement.

Treating Teratoma

Teratoma is quite resistant to radiotherapy but reacts better to chemotherapy, as an added cancer treatment to surgery or primary treatment in the advanced stages of the disease. The treatment may also involve radical surgical inguinal orchidectomy as part of the diagnosis.


Orchitis, Torsion, and Cancer – The Differences

Orchitis is a condition with which one or both testicles are inflamed. Viruses or bacteria can cause orchitis. A sexually transmitted disease most often causes orchitis. The mumps virus can also cause orchitis, as seen in some cases. Having orchitis does not mean that one has testicular cancer.

Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates and twists the spermatic cord that delivers blood to the scrotum. The testicles are starved of adequate blood supply and oxygen, leading to eventual testicular loss. Torsion mainly occurs due to the abnormal fixation of the testicles, within the membrane that cover them. Having torsion does not indicate that one has testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the testicles. Inflammation and swelling of the testicles are symptoms of testicular cancer, along with a feeling of weight in the scrotum and light pain. Additionally, one may sense these symptoms when suffering from torsion or orchitis, but that is not to be confused with cancer. Only a physician can assist in diagnosing the condition.


Final Words

It is essential to understand the types of common testicular cancers because deciding which treatments to treat testicular cancer masses usually depends on the cells involved. There are many types of cells found in the testicles, and all of them can turn cancerous. After a thorough diagnosis, your physician can decipher the best treatment option.

Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.