In the United States, testicular cancer occurs more frequently in white men than in African American men-some reports say the rate is up to 5 times higher. It is also more frequent in white men than in Asian, Pacific Islander, or Alaska Native men. The incidence is lower for Hispanic white men than non-Hispanic white men.
In addition, testicular cancer rates are not uniform across the globe.
There is a high incidence of testicular cancer in Scandinavian countries, Germany, and New Zealand. The lowest rates are in Asia and Africa. It is not known why this is the case, but, interestingly, this increased risk does not appear to disappear when people from these parts of the world migrate to different places.
The causes of testicular cancer are not known, but it most likely occurs as a result of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Since testicular cancer tends to occur at a young age, scientists are particularly interested in determining the role of the intrauterine environment in testicular cancer development. The intrauterine environment includes truly external factors such as toxicants as well as more internal factors, such as hormones produced by the mother. Certain occupations may put a person at greater risk of developing testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer risks and causes
A man is more likely to develop testicular cancer if he has a family member, particularly a brother, who developed testicular cancer and if he was born with an undescended testicle. Another risk factor for testicular cancer is testicular cancer itself: A man who develops testicular cancer has an increased chance of developing a new testicular cancer in the other testicle.
Testicular cancer rates are greater in some parts of the world than other. In the United States, testicular cancer occurs at a greater rate in white men than in African American men.
Kathleen M. Verville, Ph.D.
Donna Bozzone, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biology
Saint Michael’s College
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