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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Testicular cancer risk factors

Although the exact causes of testicular cancer are unknown, certain factors that may increase an individual's testicular cancer risks have been identified. Some of these risk factors include age, race and ethinicity, and family history.

cancer risk

Testicular cancer risk factors


  • Age: Approximately 90 percent of testicular cancers occur in adult men under the age of 54. Although less common, testicular cancer may occur in elderly men or children.
  • Race and ethnicity: Caucasian men have a five times greater risk of developing testicular cancer than black men, and a three times greater risk compared with Asian-American or American Indian men. Hispanic/Latino men have a risk in between that of Caucasian and Asian-American men. In addition, testicular cancer occurs more frequently in the United States and Europe, and less often in Asia or Africa.


  • Family history: Approximately 3 percent of cases of testicular cancer occur in families. Having a brother or father who has had testicular cancer may slightly increase your risk of developing the disease.


  • Cryptorchidism (an undescended testicle): Testicles develop in the abdomen of the fetus and move down into the scrotum before birth. Approximately 3 percent of males may be born with a testicle that has failed to properly descend. A procedure called orchiopexy may be performed to relocate a testicle that has failed to descend normally. Testicular cancer is several times more likely to occur in males with cryptochordism, and it is more likely to develop in the undescended testicles. Although, testicular cancer does develop in the normally descended testicle in approximately 25 percent of cases.
  • HIV infection: Some research suggests that infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may increase testicular cancer risks, especially in individuals who have developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Carcinoma in situ: This is a non-invasive form of testicular cancer that may sometimes, but not always, progress to invasive cancer. It generally does not form a mass that can be felt, or produce any symptoms. It is most frequently found incidentally in males who have undergone a biopsy of the testicle to evaluate another condition, such as infertility. Experts are divided on whether carcinoma in situ should be treated at the time of diagnosis, or watched to see if it progresses.
  • Previous history of testicular cancer: Approximately 3 - 4 percent of men who have had cancer in one testicle will later develop cancer in the other testicle.
Last Revised: 10/12/2015

Understanding risk factors

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. Not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.

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