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Testicular Cancer - Causes

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While the exact cause of nearly all cases of testicular cancer is unknown, there are commonly known risk factors linked to testicular cancer. Some of the most frequent are discussed below:

Undescended Testicle

The primary risk factor for testicular cancer is a problem called undescended testicle(s). Prior to birth, the testicles usually develop in the belly of the fetus and then move down into the scrotum. However in about 3% of males, the testicles do not shift into the scrotum. In some cases, the testicle stays inside the belly. In other cases, the testicle initially moves downward, but gets caught in the groin.

Nearly 10% of testicular cancer cases occur in men who have had undescended testicle(s). The risk is greater for men with a testicle in the belly as opposed to one that has moved down at least part way. This factor may not be the direct cause of testicular cancer, other problems may contribute to the cancer risk.

Family History

A history of testicular cancer adds to the risk. There is an increased risk of developing the cancer if your brother or father has the disease. Though, it is unlikely for a father to pass on the cancer to his son.

HIV Infection

There is some proof that men infected with HIV have an elevated risk of testicular cancer. This may be especially the case for men who have AIDS.

Cancer of the Other Testicle

In cases where a man has been cured of cancer in one testicle, there is an increased risk (3% to 4%) of developing cancer in the other testicle.


About 90% of testicular cancer cases occur in men between the ages of 20 and 54. Even so, this cancer can affect males of any age, including children and mature men.

Race and Ethnicity

White American males are about 5 times more probable to develop testicular cancer than are African-American males. Additionally, whites have greater than 3 times the risk of Asian-American and American Indian males. The reason for this distinction is unknown.


A history of male infertility is known to be associated with testicular cancer.