What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is when normal cells in the testicles change and grow into cancer. The cancer can affect how the testicles work normally. Sometimes testicular cancer cells spread to lymph glands at the back of the abdomen, the chest or neck.
Testicular cancer is rare, but it’s the most common cancer in young men aged between 15 and 34. Almost 170 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year in Ireland.
Testicular cancer is very treatable and is nearly always curable.
What are the testicles and what do they do?
The testicles (also known as the testes) are two small, egg-shaped organs found below your penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum. They are part of the male reproductive system. Once you reach the age of puberty the testicles make sperm.
The testicles lie outside your body because they need to be at a lower temperature than the body to make sperm. Sperm is needed to fertilise the female egg after sex, which will grow into a baby. The testes also make the hormone testosterone. This hormone is responsible for male qualities such as a deep voice, facial hair and strong muscles. It also plays a role in your sex drive and the ability to have an erection.
We use the term ‘man / men’ in our testicular cancer information but we understand that not everyone who has testicles identifies as a man.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we are here for you. For confidential advice, information and support, contact our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700.
Medical content updated from our 'Understanding testicular cancer' booklet (2022) reviewed by Arun Z Thomas, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Lynn Casey, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Urology, and Annmarie O’Shea, Urology Nurse Cancer Co-Ordinator.
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