Testicular Cancer: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing testicular cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The following factors can raise a person’s risk of developing testicular cancer. However, it is important to note that the cause of testicular cancer is not known.

  • Age. More than half of the people who are diagnosed with testicular cancer are between age 20 and 45. However, this disease can occur at any age, including in the teen years and well after age 45, so it is important that any symptoms of testicular cancer are checked out by a doctor

  • Cryptorchidism. Cryptorchidism is an undescended testicle, meaning that 1 or both testicles do not move down into the scrotum before birth. People with this condition have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. This risk can be lowered by fixing the condition surgically. Some doctors recommend surgery for cryptorchidism between ages 6 months and 15 months to reduce the risk of infertility. Infertility is the inability to produce children. Because cryptorchidism is often fixed at a very young age, many people may not know if they had the condition.

  • Family history. Having a close relative, particularly a sibling, who has had testicular cancer brings an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.

  • Personal history. Having had cancer in 1 testicle brings an increased risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. It is estimated that out of every 100 people with testicular cancer, 2 will develop cancer in the other testicle.

  • Race. Although people of any race can develop testicular cancer, White people are more likely than those of other races to be diagnosed with testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is rare in Black people. However, Black people with testicular cancer are more likely to die of the cancer than White people, particularly if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body when it is diagnosed.

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by HIV slightly raises the risk of developing seminoma.

The next section in this guide is Screening. It explains how tests may find cancer before signs or symptoms appear. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.