Testicular cancer risk

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have created a central resources hub for Health Professionals which hosts all of our CRUK resources and further materials to help with managing the pandemic. We are updating the information as guidance changes. There is also a page specifically for patients on our about cancer hub.

Health Professional COVID-19 and Cancer Hub


Preventable cases of testicular cancer are not known as it is not clearly linked to any preventable risk factors

Not well understood

Testicular cancer risk factors have not been conclusively identified, despite substantial research

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer is 1 in 215 (less than 1%) for males born after 1960 in the UK.[1]

These figures take account of the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of testicular cancer in their lifetime (‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method).[2


  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017, and Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016. 
  2. 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): p. 460-5. 

About this data

Data is for UK, past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C62.

The calculations used past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Last reviewed:

Testicular cancer is not clearly linked to any preventable risk factors.[1,2]

Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

  Increases risk Decreases risk
'Sufficient' or 'convincing' evidence    
'Limited' or 'probable' evidence
  • DDT
  • Diethylstilbestrol (exposure in utero)
  • N,N-dimethylformamide
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) classification does not include testicular cancer because it is not generally recognised to have a relationship to food, nutrition, and physical activity.

See also

Want to generate bespoke preventable cancers stats statements? Download our interactive statement generator.

Find out more about the definitions and evidence for this data

Learn how attributable risk is calculated


  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122*. Accessed October 2018.
  2. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Findings & Reports. Accessed October 2018.
Last reviewed:

Testicular carcinoma in situ (CIS), also known as intratubular germ cell neoplasia (IGCN) or testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN), is a precursor for testicular cancer. Around half of men with CIS will develop testicular cancer within 5 years, without treatment.[1,2]

Last reviewed:

Testicular cancer risk is around 3-4 times higher in males with cryptorchidism (also known as undescended testicle, a condition where one or both testes fails to descend into the scrotum in the first year of life), meta-analyses have shown.[1,2]

In unilateral cryptorchidism (where only one testicle is undescended), testicular cancer risk is 6.3 times increased in the undescended testicle, and 1.7 times increased in the descended one, compared with the general population, a meta-analysis showed.[3]

Testicular cancer risk is around 2-6 times higher in males whose cryptorchidism was surgically corrected (orchiopexy) after age 11-13 or not at all, compared with those who had the procedure at a younger age, a meta-analysis and large cohort study showed.[4,5]

The mechanism of association between cryptorchidism and testicular cancer risk remains unclear. The difference in risk by age at surgery suggests that cryptorchidism-related events at puberty as well as those in utero are implicated.[3,4]

Testicular cancer risk appears to be increased in males with polyorchidism (more than two testes), although this is probably closely linked with cryptorchidism.[6]


  1. Lip SZ, Murchison LE, Cullis PS, et al. A meta-analysis of the risk of boys with isolated cryptorchidism developing testicular cancer in later life. Arch Dis Child 2013;98(1):20-6.
  2. Cook MB, Akre O, Forman D, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of perinatal variables in relation to the risk of testicular cancer--experiences of the son. Int J Epidemiol 2010; 39(6):1605-18.
  3. Akre O, Pettersson A, Richiardi L. Risk of contralateral testicular cancer among men with unilaterally undescended testis: a meta analysis. Int J Cancer 2009;124(3);687-9.
  4. Walsh TJ, Dall'Era MA, Croughan MS, et al. Prepubertal orchiopexy for cryptorchidism may be associated with lower risk of testicular cancer. J Urol 2007;178(4 Pt 1):1440-6.
  5. Pettersson A, Richiardi L, Nordenskjold A, et al. Age at surgery for undescended testis and risk of testicular cancer. N Engl J Med 2007; 356(18) 1835-41.
  6. Bergholz R, Wenke K. Polyorchidism: a meta-analysis. J Urol 2009;182(5):2422-7.
Last reviewed:

A small proportion of men with testicular cancer have a family history of the disease.[1] Testicular cancer risk is around 4-5 times higher in men whose father was diagnosed with the disease, large cohort studies have shown.[2,3] Testicular cancer risk is 8-9 times higher in men with a brother diagnosed with the disease.


  1. Hemminki K, Sundquist J, Bermejo JL. How common is familial cancer? Ann Oncol. 2008 Jan;19(1):163-7.
  2. Hemminki K, Li X. Familial risk in testicular cancer as a clue to a heritable and environmental aetiology. Br J Cancer 2004; 90(9) 1765-70.
  3. Nordsborg RB, Meliker JR, Wohlfahrt J, et al. Cancer in first-degree relatives and risk of testicular cancer in Denmark. Int J Cancer 2011;129(10):2485-91.
Last reviewed:

Cancer stats explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.


You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK content for your own work.
Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year].
Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.

When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, 2 Redman Place, London, E20 1JQ or

Donate online

Join the conversation and follow @CRUKHCPs for news, updates and opinion.



We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.