Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer

Although most of the time there is no apparent reason for testicular cancer to develop there are a few risk factors which have been identified in a minority of cases, explained below.


Cryptorchidism is where a baby boy is born with an undescended testicle. This means that the testicle does not descend into the scrotum.

When baby boys are in their mother’s womb, their testicles form in their abdomen. The testicles usually descend into the baby’s scrotum at birth or shortly afterwards.

If this does not happen, minor surgery can be performed in childhood, called an orchidopexy.

Around 10% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer may have a history of this condition, even if they have had corrective surgery. If you have this medical history, it is important to check your testicles. Find out how to check your testicles here.

Pre-cancerous Cells

Sometimes, pre-cancerous cells can be found inside the testicles, for instance when men are being treated for male infertility.

This condition is also called intratubular germ cell neoplasia (IGCN).

There is a 50% chance that these cells will develop into testicular cancer within five years.


Family History

If a brother or father has been affected by testicular cancer, the risk to a first degree male relative is higher.

Caucasian (white) men have a higher risk of testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups.

Previous History

If you have had testicular cancer in the past, as with all cancers, it could return. However, if testicular cancer does reoccur, there is every chance it can be cured using further treatments.

Male Infertility

Men who suffer from some forms of male infertility have a slightly higher risk of developing testicular cancer. There may also be an association with poorly functioning testicles.

Other Possible Factors

  • There is some evidence that men who are taller than average have a slightly increased risk.
  • Twins have an increased risk, especially if they are identical. However, as testicular cancer is rare, the risk remains low.
  • Some studies have shown that a small percentage of men with microlithiasis may go on to develop testicular cancer. Microlithiasis is where the testicles experience a build-up of calcium.

Controversial Factors

  • An inactive lifestyle may reduce testicular function although this is controversial.
  • Several small research studies have suggested that men who smoke marijuana regularly and develop testicular cancer are more likely to suffer a potentially more aggressive form of the disease.

For more information on the risk factors for testicular cancer, please watch the video below.

Speak to one of our nurses
0808 802 0010