testicular cancer

The C-Word

Written by: Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

Testicular Cancer

Not that c-word! If your mind went there, you might need some Orbit gum to clean that dirty mouth of yours! We are talking about the Big C: cancer. Specifically testicular cancer (TC). While testicular cancer is relatively rare, knowing the risk factors and signs is essential. The more you know, the easier it is to detect. Early detection is critical for a positive prognosis, so Popstar is here to give you all the tips (and not just the tip) on testicular cancer risk factors and signs. We have all the tea on TC.


While you could be diagnosed at any age, testicular cancer is prevalent in young and middle-aged men. The highest incidence of testicular cancer occurs between the ages of 15 and 35.

Family History

They don't call them your family jewels for anything. Like many other conditions, testicular cancer can be hereditary. Men with a family history of testicular cancer have an increased risk of being diagnosed, especially if the past diagnoses are among close relatives like fathers or brothers. If a history of testicular cancer is in your lineage, knowing the signs and being familiar with your family jewels is essential.

Personal History

Teste see teste do. If you are someone who has had testicular cancer in one testicle, then there is an increased risk of developing it in your other testicle.


Another risk factor for testicular cancer is race. TC is more common in white men than in other races, although there isn't much information as to why that is.

Pre-existing Conditions

There are a number of conditions that can contribute to testicular cancer. Conditions like cryptorchidism, where one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum while in the womb, can increase the risk of TC. Surgery in early childhood to bring your boys into the scrotum where they belong can reduce the risk.

Stopping TC in its Tracks

Now that we know who is at risk for testicular cancer, we must learn how to prevent it. There are certain measures we can take to reduce the risk. Perhaps the most accessible measure we can take to prevent TC is a TSE or Testicular Self-Examination. A TSE is a way to familiarize ourselves with our own anatomy so we can identify when and if there are sudden changes in size or shape. The earlier you can detect and report a change to a healthcare professional, the better. To learn more about performing a TSE, click here.

While we should perform our TSEs once a month, seeing a healthcare professional regularly is essential. Self-examinations should be used as a way to monitor yourself in between doctor visits. Routine medical checkups are an even more efficient way to monitor abnormalities.

There are other tests that can be used to keep tabs on our testes. For example, imaging and blood tests are a great way to identify testicular cancer. Ultrasounds can identify suspicious masses or tumors. Blood tests can measure the levels of specific proteins known as "tumor makers.'' Alpha-fetoprotein and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin are examples of proteins that, if elevated levels are found in the blood, may increase your risk of testicular cancer.

While the C-word can be a trigger for many, it is crucial to know the risks and preventative steps we can take to avoid it. Early diagnosis is the best way to have a positive prognosis. Remember, regular self-examination, doctor's visits, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is your best way to avoid testicular cancer. If you feel as though you're at risk for TC, talk to your healthcare provider today.

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez is a board-certified urologist who is fellowship-trained in Sexual Medicine and specializes in the management of male and female sexual dysfunctions. He completed his medical education at Columbia University and his urological residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Throughout his career, Dr. Gonzalez has focused on advocating for sexual health and providing improved healthcare to the LGBTQ+ community.