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Testicular cancer incidence statistics

Incidence statistics for testicular cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data on lifetime risk, morphology, geography, socio-economic variation, ethnicity, and prevalence.

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data.

By country in the UK

Testicular cancer is the 16th most common cancer among men in the UK (2011), accounting for 1% of all new cases of cancer in males.1-4

In 2011, there were 2,207 new cases of testicular cancer in the UK (Table 1.1).1-4  The crude incidence rate shows that there are 7 new testicular cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK. 

The European age-standardised incidence rates (AS rates) do not differ significantly between the constituent countries of the UK. 

Table 1.1: Testicular Cancer (C62), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, Males, UK, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Cases 1,819 120 197 71 2,207
Crude Rate 7.0 8.0 7.7 8.0 7.1
AS Rate 6.9 8.5 7.7 8.1 7.1
AS Rate - 95% LCL 6.6 6.9 6.6 6.2 6.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 7.3 10.0 8.8 9.9 7.4

Download this table XLS (31KB) PPT (132KB) PDF (17KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate

There was considerable variation in testicular cancer incidence rates across the UK in the 1990s, with the highest rates in Scotland and southern England, and the lowest rates in London, Ireland, and parts of northern England. The latest analysis of testicular cancer incidence rates throughout the UK also reports significant variation between cancer networks, with the highest rates being in the south west, northern England, and areas of Scotland and Wales, and the lowest rates in London and eastern England.7,24

Geographical variation in testicular cancer incidence may reflect the ethnicity of the local population: testicular cancer risk is higher in white men compared with other ethnic groups.5,6

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14

By age


Testicular cancer incidence is strongly related to age, but does not follow the pattern of increasing incidence with age seen for most cancers: conversely testicular cancer is most common in younger rather than older men. In the UK between 2009 and 2011, an average of 84% of cases were diagnosed in men aged 15-49 years, and 6% were diagnosed in men aged over 60 years (Figure 1.1).1-4

Age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 15, peak in the 30-34 age group, and subsequently drop sharply.1-4 Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 25-49 in the UK (2011).

Cell changes influenced by pubertal hormones may explain why testicular cancer is more common in younger men.8,9

Figure 1.1:  Testicular Cancer (C62), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, Males, UK, 2009-2011

cases_crude_testis.swf

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section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14

Trends over time

Testicular cancer incidence rates have overall increased in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.2).1-3 European AS incidence rates increased by 112% between 1975-1977 and 2004-2006, but have since remained stable.10 Reasons for this increase remain unclear, with known risk factors and improved diagnosis or data collection unlikely to explain the trend: however worldwide variation in the trend suggests highly prevalent environmental factors may be implicated, and research is ongoing.25

Figure 1.2: Testicular Cancer (C62), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_gb_testis.swf

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Testicular cancer incidence trends for the UK are shown in Figure 1.3.1-4 Over the last decade (between 200-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS incidence rates have increased by 6%.

Figure 1.3:  Testicular Cancer (C62), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2011

inc_asr_uk_testis.swf

Download this chart XLS (45KB) PPT (126KB) PDF (36KB)

Testicular cancer incidence rates have increased overall in most adult age groups in Great Britain since the mid-1970s, though generally this includes an increase followed by stability (Figure 1.4).1-3 The largest increase has been in men aged 45-59, with European AS incidence rates increasing by 140% between 1975-1977 and 2007-2009, and remaining stable since. In younger adult men, rates increased until the late 1990s (105% and 122% increase between 1975-1977 and 1997-1999 in 15-29 and 30-44 age groups, respectively) but have since remained stable. In men aged 75 and over, rates have remained stable since 1975-1977.

Figure 1.4: Testicular Cancer (C62), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_age_testis.swf

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section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14

Lifetime risk

Lifetime risk is an estimation of the risk that a newborn child has of being diagnosed with cancer at some point during their life. It is a summary of risk in the population but genetic and lifestyle factors affect the risk of cancer and so the risk for every individual is different.

In 2010, in the UK, the lifetime risk of developing testicular cancer is 1 in 190.11

The lifetime risk for testicular cancer has been calculated by the Statistical Information Team using the ‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method; this accounts for the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of testicular cancer over the course of their lifetime.12

section reviewed 25/04/13
section updated 25/04/13

By morphology

95% of testicular tumours are germ-cell tumours (GCTs), 4% are lymphomas and the remaining 1% is composed of various rare histologies. Lymphomas are nearly always found in men aged over 50 and are generally treated as a different disease entity from GCTs.

GCTs can be divided into two main groups: about 40-45% are seminomas and a similar percentage are nonseminomas.

The nonseminoma group contains a variety of histological subtypes including malignant teratoma differentiated (MTD), malignant teratoma intermediate (MTI) and malignant teratoma undifferentiated (MTU).

Nonseminomas tend to occur on average ten years earlier than seminomas. Incidence of nonseminomas peaks in the 20-35 age group while incidence of seminomas peaks in the 30-45 age group. Some GCTs (10-15%) are a mixture of seminoma and nonseminoma and have a peak age incidence halfway between the nonseminomas and seminomas. They are usually classified and treated as nonseminomas.

GCTs are thought to develop from a non-invasive lesion called carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the testis (also called intratubular germ-cell neoplasia unclassified (IGCNU) and testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN)), whose malignant transformation is likely to be influenced by hormones at or after puberty.13,14

section reviewed 31/12/09
section updated 31/12/09

In Europe and worldwide

Although the incidence of testicular cancer is low throughout the world, it is estimated to have doubled in the last 40 years and there is appreciable variation between countries.15

The highest rates of testicular cancer are reported for white Caucasian populations in industrialised countries, particularly in western and northern Europe and Australia/New Zealand, (Figure 1.5), while the disease is generally rare in non-Caucasian populations - the New Zealand Maoris being the exception.16,17

Figure 1.5: Testicular Cancer (C62), World Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, World Regions, 2008 Estimates

world_inc_testis.swf

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Overall, rates of testicular cancer in the developed regions of the world are five times higher than those in the less developed regions. Within North America, the consistently lower rates reported for black Americans compared with white Americans suggest a genetic component to the disease, while the rates for Asian and Hispanic men are intermediate between those of white and black Americans.18

Within the European Union (EU), there is an approximately five-fold variation in incidence between countries with the highest and lowest incidence rates. For example, Denmark reports age-standardised rates (ASRs) of around 10 per 100,000, while Romania and Greece have ASRs of less than 2 per 100,000. The UK ASR (6.9 per 100,000) is above the EU average (Figure 1.6).19

Figure 1.6: Testicular Cancer (C62), European Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, EU-27 Countries, 2008 Estimates

EU27_inc_testis.swf

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Across the UK, higher rates of testicular cancer are reported in Scotland and the south of England, where incidence rates are more than 8 per 100,000 men. Rates in the north of England are around 7 per 100,000, and in eastern England and London around 6 per 100,000.20 Lower rates recorded in urban areas may reflect the fact that urban populations generally have a higher percentage of minority ethnic groups with a lower testicular cancer risk than the general UK population.

section reviewed 01/08/11
section updated 01/08/11

By socio-economic variation

Data from men diagnosed in England between 2000 and 2004 show a deprivation gradient, with the highest incidence rates in the least deprived groups (7.2 cases per 100,000 in the least deprived compared with 5.5 in the most deprived).21 However, there was no clear trend for Scottish data between 1986 and 1995.22

section reviewed 31/12/09
section updated 31/12/09

By ethnicity

White men have a higher risk of testicular cancer than men of other ethnicities, according to a Thames Cancer Registry study. The higher risk in white men has also been shown in America, particularly in comparison to incidence rates in black men.26,27

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14

Prevalence

Prevalence refers to the number of people who have previously received a diagnosis of cancer and who are still alive at a given time point. Some patients will have been cured of their disease and others will not.

In the UK around 18,600 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with testicular cancer (Table 1.2).23

Table 1.2: Testicular Cancer (C62), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 1,982 9,473 18,562

Download this table XLS (30KB) PPT (117KB) PDF (15KB)

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were more than 201,000 men still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.16

section reviewed 17/05/13
section updated 17/05/13

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References for testicular cancer incidence

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/search/index.html?newquery=cancer+registrations.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerData/OnlineStatistics/.
  5. Quinn M, Wood H, Cooper N, et al. Cancer Atlas of the United Kingdom and Ireland 1991-2000. London, Office for National Statistics; 2005
  6. Jack RH, Davies EA, Moller H. Testis and prostate cancer incidence in ethnic groups in South East England. Int J Androl 2007:30(4):215-20.
  7. NCIN, Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. London: NCIN; 2008.
  8. Horwich A, Shipley J, Huddart R, Testicular germ-cell cancer. Lancet 2006:367(9512):754.
  9. Rajpert-De Meyts E, Bartkova J, Samson M, et al. The emerging phenotype of the testicular carcinoma in situ germ cell. Apmis, 2003111(1):267-78.
  10. Westlake S, Cooper N. Cancer incidence and mortality: trends in the United Kingdom and constituent countries, 1993 to 2004. Health Stat Q 2008:33-46.
  11. Lifetime risk was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2012.
  12. Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer 2011;105(3):460-5.
  13. Horwich A, Shipley J, Huddart R. Testicular germ-cell cancer.The Lancet, 2006. 367(9512): p. 754.
  14. Rajpert-De Meyts E, Bartkova J, Samson M, et al. The emerging phenotype of the testicular carcinoma in situ germ cell. Apmis, 2003. 111(1): p. 267-78; discussion 278-9.
  15. Huyghe E, Matsuda T, Thonneau P. Increasing incidence of testicular cancer worldwide: a review. J Urol 2003:170(1):5-11.
  16. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet] Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr. Accessed May 2011.
  17. Wilkinson TJ, Colls BM, Schluter PJ. Increased incidence of germ cell testicular cancer in New Zealand Maoris. Br J Cancer 1992:65(5):769-71.
  18. SEER. Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2003. Accessed 2006.
  19. European age-standardised rates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2011 using data from GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, IARC, version 1.2. http://globocan.iarc.fr
  20. Statistical Information Team, Cancer Research UK, 2011: UK Cancer Information Service, version 4.3c.001, August 2011
  21. National Cancer Intelligence Network Cancer Incidence by Deprivation, England, 1995-2004. London:NCIN; 2008.
  22. Harris V, et al. Cancer Registration Statistics: Scotland 1986-1995. Edinburgh: ISD Scotland: 1998.
  23. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence by Cancer Network, UK, 2006. London: NCIN; 2010.
  24. Testicular cancer (C62) European age-standardised incidence rates by UK Health Boundaries, males, 2008-2010. These data were extracted from the UK Cancer Information Service, version 4.5b 001 on 06/01/2014
  25. Le Cornet C, Lortet-Tieulent J, Forman D, et al. Testicular cancer incidence to rise by 25% by 2025 in Europe? Model-based predictions in 40 countries using population-based registry data. Eur J Cancer 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2013.11.035.
  26. Jack RH, Davies EA, Møller H. Testis and prostate cancer incidence in ethnic groups in South East England. Int J Androl 2007; 30(4)215-20.
  27. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Testis. SEER/NCI, 2010.
Updated: 30 April 2014