Various epidemiological studies have indicated a number of factors that can predispose testicular cancer.
Testicular Cancer Risk Factors:
- Cryptorchidism: It is a condition characterized by failure of testes to descend from the abdomen to scrotum before birth. This is considered as the major testicular cancer risk factors.
- Race and Ethnicity: The risk of testicular cancer is around 4 to 5 times higher in white men living in the United States and Europe compared to that of black men living in Africa or Asia. However, the reason for this difference in incidence is unknown.
- Individuals with a personal history of testicular are generally at higher risk of developing second cancer in another testicle.
- Family history: Risk of developing testicular cancer increases in an individual with a history of testicular cancer in close relatives.
- Abnormal development of testicles, testicular atrophy due to injury, orchitis, and exposure to radiation in past is associated with increased level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which is postulated to increase the risk of testicular cancer.
- Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes: Some inherited cancer predisposition syndromes (caused by a mutation in certain genes which are generally transferred from one generation to other) have been reported to be associated with a high incidence rate of testicular cancer. Following are some examples: Down’s Syndrome (caused due to defect in chromosome 21); Klinefelter’s syndrome (caused due to the presence of two or more X chromosomes in males); testicular dysgenesis, and testicular feminization syndrome.
- Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with an increased risk of testicular cancer.
Obese and tall men are also considered to be at increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
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The incidence of testicular cancer is highest in North-European and least in Asians and Africans. Cryptorchidism, or failure of descent of the testis into the scrotal sac, is also a risk factor for the disease.
In this condition, testis may lie either in the abdomen or in the inguinal canal, as you can see in the figure. Various syndromes such as Down’s syndrome. Klinefelter’s syndrome and testicular dysgenesis syndrome may also be a risk factor for the disease.
Previous history of cancer in the opposite testis, previous testicular biopsy, testicular atrophy or impaired fertility also increase the testicular cancer risk factor.