TGCT Background

Is it Testicular Cancer or Testicular Germ Cell Tumor?

Doctors diagnose different types of testicular cancer depending on the type of cancerous cells present. About 95% of testicular cancers are testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT). Diagnoses of TGCT increased by 54% from 1973 to 2003. Other, less common, types of testicular cancer include sex cord-stromal tumors and testicular lymphoma.

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How is TGCT found?

TGCT is the rapid growth of abnormal cells in the testicles. Often men with TGCT notice a hard, painless lump on the testicle or a change in the size of their testicle. TGCTs can progress quickly in some men. Changes in the testicles that might indicate TGCT are often found through a testicular self-exam. For more information about self-exams, see the Testicular Cancer Resource Center's self-exam site.

Who is affected by TGCT?

TGCT is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 20 and 40, although it affects only 2% of men overall. Men of all races can have TGCT. However, the disease is most commonly found among white men and only rarely in black men. Other ethnic groups get TGCT less frequently than whites do, but more often than blacks do.

Only a few risk factors for TGCT are known. Studies have linked TGCT to:

How is TGCT treated?

Almost all men diagnosed with TGCT have surgery to remove the affected testicle from the scrotum. After that, the next step of treatment may include radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In some cases, the affected man may need only frequent check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't returned.