Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

Testicular Germ Cell Cancer Overview

Testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors in young men. It develops in the germ cells of the testicles from cells that normally turn into sperm, and accounts for 85% of all testicular cancers. TGCC is typically found in young and middle-aged men in their 30s and 40s. It is very rare in men under the age of 20.

Risk Factors for Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

  • Age: Most cases occur in men aged 30-45 years, and it is rare in men under age 20.
  • Fertility: Men with fertility problems, or who have had vasectomies have an increased risk of TGCC.
  • Family history: If a close relative has had TGCC, you are at increased risk.
  • Medical conditions: Having conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome or undescended testicles increases the risk.

Symptoms of Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

The most common symptom of TGCC is a lump or swelling in either testicle, which may be painless or accompanied by pain or discomfort. Other symptoms may include:

  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  • Back pain
  • Breast growth or tenderness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in skin color around the testicles

Diagnosing Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor. To diagnose TGCC, your doctor will perform a physical exam of the affected testicle, using an instrument called a scrotal ultrasound to look for any abnormalities. If the ultrasound indicates a tumor, a blood test will be done to look for high levels of tumor-associated markers, which will confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

Treatment for TGCC may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. Surgery to remove the affected testicle is the most common treatment. In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be used to treat any remaining cancer cells, or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Depending on the stage and type of cancer, additional treatments may be necessary.