Testicular Cancer: A Guide for Patients

ESMO Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the testicles. Most testicular cancers begin in the cells that make sperm (also known as germ cells) – these cancers are known as germ cell tumours. Other types of testicular cancer exist but are very rare. This guide focuses on the management of testicular germ cell tumours only. There are two main types of testicular cancer, seminoma and non-seminoma, which each account for approximately half of testicular cancers. Seminomas consist of one type of cancer cell derived from a gonadal stem cell, whereas non‑seminomas typically involve a mixture of cell types, including teratoma, embryonal carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and yolk sac tumours.

Beyond a definition of testicular cancer, in this guide for patients you will find answers to questions such as:

  • What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
  • How common is testicular cancer?
  • What causes testicular cancer?
  • How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
  • How will my treatment be determined?
  • What are the treatment options for testicular cancer after an orchiectomy?
  • What are the treatment options for testicular cancer that returns after treatment?
  • Supplementary interventions
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment?
  • Effects of testicular cancer treatment on fertility
  • Long-term side effects and late toxicity
  • What happens after my treatment has finished?
  • Support groups

This guide has been prepared to help you, your friends and your family better understand the nature of testicular cancer and the treatments that are available. The medical information described in this document is based on ESMO clinical practice guidelines for the management of testicular cancer. We recommend that you ask your doctor about the tests and types of treatments available in your country for your type and stage of testicular cancer.

Published in 2019