Testicular cancer risk factors: what you should know
A risk factor is anything that can affect your chances of getting a disease. While certain risk factors can influence the development of testicular cancer, most of them do not directly cause the tumor to form. Scientists have found a few testicular cancer risk factors that increase the risk of testicular cancer development. However, it is impossible to know for sure how much these risk factors contribute to the growth of cancer.
Some of the risk factors for developing testicular cancer include:
- Family history of testicular cancer: Having a family member with testicular cancer increases the risk of developing it. However, most men with testicular cancer don’t have a family history of the disease
- An undescended testicle: One of the main risk factors for testicular cancer is an undescended testicle. This means that one or both testicles failed to move from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. Males with an undescended testicle are more likely to get testicular cancer than those with normally descended testicles. The risk of testicular cancer is higher in men whose testicle stayed in the abdomen as opposed to those that have partially descended.
- HIV infection: Some research has shown that men infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), especially those with AIDS are at an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
- Age: Half of the cases of testicular cancer occur in men between the ages of 20 and 34. But cancer can affect males of any age, including infants.
- Race/Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop testicular cancer than others. Worldwide, the risk of developing the disease is highest among men living in United States and Europe, and lowest in men living in Africa and Asia.
- Body size: Several studies have found that tall men have a somewhat higher risk of developing testicular cancer. But a link hasn’t been established between testicular cancer and body weight.
- Personal history of testicular cancer: People with a history of testicular cancer are more likely to develop it again.