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Screening for testicular cancer

Kenneth W Lin, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Joann G Elmore, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Judith A Melin, MA, MD, FACP


Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy in males between the ages of 15 and 35 years [1]. Although the incidence of testicular cancer has been increasing over the past three decades in the United States and worldwide [2-4], it still accounts for only about 1 percent of cancers in men, and its prognosis with treatment is generally excellent.

This topic will review issues related to screening for testicular cancer, including the lack of evidence that screening improves favorable outcomes for this disease. The epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment for testicular cancer are discussed separately. (See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for testicular germ cell tumors" and "Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging of testicular germ cell tumors" and "Overview of the treatment of testicular germ cell tumors".)


The age-adjusted incidence and death rates of testicular cancer were 5.6 cases and 0.3 deaths per 100,000 men per year [5]. Worldwide, there are approximately 72,000 cases and 9000 deaths annually [6]. In 2016, approximately 8850 men in the United States will receive a diagnosis of testicular cancer, and 400 men will die of it [1].

The excellent prognosis of testicular cancer with treatment, even in advanced stages, is reflected in the statistics that show more than 95 percent of men diagnosed with testicular cancer from 2001 to 2007 in the United States were alive five years later, and there were more than 200,000 testicular cancer survivors at the beginning of 2008 [7]. (See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for testicular germ cell tumors", section on 'Epidemiology'.)


Testicular cancer occurs most commonly in younger men, with almost half the cases occurring between ages 15 and 35 [1]. Well-established risk factors for testicular cancer include a history of an undescended testis, a familial history of testicular cancer, and a history of contralateral testicular cancer [8]. (See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for testicular germ cell tumors".)


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Literature review current through: Jun 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 09, 2017.
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