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Testicular Cancer Risks

What causes testicular cancer?

Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes some cells in the testicles to become cancerous. More research is needed.

Testicular cancer risk factors

Certain factors can increase your risk of testicular cancer. While you can't control all of these risk factors, if you know you have risk factors for testicular cancer, you can talk to your provider about screening and early detection.


Testicular cancer can affect men of any age. However, unlike most cancers, which strike those who are older, testicular cancer is more common in younger men. Half of all testicular cancer cases are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 34.  Older men can also be diagnosed, with the risk declining with age.  The average age of testicular cancer diagnosis is 32. It's not clear why this type of cancer is more common in this age group.


White and Hispanic people are about five times more likely to develop testicular cancer than people of Black and Asian backgrounds.

Family history of testicular cancer

Genetic factors can increase your risk of testicular cancer. If a close relative, such as your father or a brother, has had testicular cancer, you may be at higher risk of developing it yourself. There are also certain genetic disorders – such as Klinefelter syndrome – that can increase your risk.

Undescended testicles

If your testicles did not drop before you were born (called cryptorchidism) you are more likely to get testicular cancer, even if you had surgery to fix the undescended testicle.

Germ cell neoplasia in situ (GNCIS)

This is a condition where your testicle contains unusual cells that increase your risk. It may be uncovered during infertility testing.


Having HIV or AIDS increases your risk of testicular cancer.

A history of testicular cancer

If you’ve had testicular cancer, you are at increased risk of developing it again. Up to 2% of men with a past diagnosis of testicular cancer will develop cancer in the other testis.


Lifestyle and environmental factors that could contribute to developing testicular cancer are not well understood.  However, there are some lifestyle factors that may increase your risk of developing it:

  • Smoking and substance use: Some studies suggest a link between smoking and an increased risk of testicular cancer. The use of certain substances, such as alcohol and marijuana, may also contribute to higher risk.
  • Exposure: Environmental factors or substances, such as pesticides and heavy metals, could increase the risk of testicular cancer.   

Testicular cancer prevention

While there is no way to prevent testicular cancer, you can take steps to help reduce your risk of cancer in general:

  • Avoid using tobacco products.
  • Limit your use of alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Walking, jogging and biking are good options.
  • Choose a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

Learn about testicular cancer signs and symptoms.