Testicular cancer generally has a favorable survival rate at any stage. Due to screening guidelines and increased awareness, it’s often diagnosed early, offering a good chance for a cure.

Testicular cancer is cancer that starts in the testicles. Pain in one or both testicles or a lump in that area may be early signs of testicular cancer. It’s more common in people under 50 years old and is often very treatable.

This article reviews survival rates for people with testicular cancer and the factors affecting those rates.

Fast facts

  • Testicular cancer is not common. About 1 in 250 people assigned male at birth will develop this cancer.
  • In 2023, it’s estimated that 9,190 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 470 deaths will occur from testicular cancer in 2023.
  • The average age of testicular cancer diagnosis is 33 years old.
  • Six percent of all incidences of testicular cancer are in children and teens.
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Survival rates for testicular cancer are generally favorable. Overall, the survival rate depends on the stage the cancer is diagnosed, but testicular cancer, in particular, can often be found early. Usually, this means that the cancer has not yet spread to other areas of the body, and treatments have a better chance of success.

Keep in mind, however, that many factors influence the survival rates for testicular cancer, and the survival rates are much higher for cancer that has not yet spread.

The American Cancer Society uses the SEER database to track relative survival rates. This database groups cancer into three categories based on how far it has spread:

  • Localized: Cancer has not been shown to spread beyond the testicles.
  • Regional: Cancer has spread from the testicles to nearby lymph nodes or structures.
  • Distant: Cancer has spread to further areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver or distant lymph nodes.

Based on these categories, here are the relative 5-year survival rates in the United States for testicular cancer:

StageRelative survival rate
All stages combined95%

A relative survival rate gives you an idea of how long someone with a specific condition may live after their diagnosis compared with someone without the condition. For example, a 5-year relative survival rate of 95% means that someone with that condition is 95% as likely to live for 5 years as someone without the condition.

The numbers in the above table apply only to the stage of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not consider individual factors such as age, overall health, type of testicular cancer, and response to treatment.

Several factors can affect the treatment outcomes and survival rates of someone with testicular cancer. These can include:

  • Age at diagnosis: Younger people generally have a better treatment prognosis.
  • Overall health: People with better overall health often have better treatment outcomes
  • Cancer stage: Testicular cancer that has not spread and is diagnosed at an early stage often has more treatment success.
  • Type of cancer: There are different types of testicular cancer, most of which are very treatable if found early. Choriocarcinoma is a rare, aggressive testicular cancer found in adults, which can be more challenging to treat.
  • Treatment response: How cancer responds to specific treatments will significantly affect the survival rate.

Does having testicular cancer shorten your life expectancy?

Testicular cancer at any stage has an overall relative survival rate of about 95%.

However, testicular cancer treatments using platinum-based chemotherapy (PBCT) and radiation therapy (RT) have been linked to an increased risk of premature death from secondary cancers and other causes.

A 2021 study showed a 23% excess mortality rate (death from causes other than testicular cancer) after treatment with PBCT or RT compared to the general population.

The most notable excess mortality was caused by non-testicular second cancers. Radiation therapy was commonly used as an adjuvant therapy for testicular cancer until the early 2000s, when it was largely abandoned due to its strong association with second cancers.

While testicular cancer treatment is often successful, working with your healthcare team to minimize your risk of long-term treatment effects is essential.

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Is testicular cancer a fast-growing cancer?

The speed that testicular cancer spreads depends on the stage of the cancer and your tumor type. In general, seminoma tumors will spread more slowly than the more aggressive nonseminoma tumors.

Can you survive stage 3 testicular cancer?

The relative 5-year survival rate for stage 3 testicular cancer is 73%. At this stage, the cancer has spread beyond the testicles and into nearby organs such as lymph nodes and lungs.

While the treatment prognosis is still positive, treatment options at this stage will usually include surgery and combination chemotherapy.

At what stage is testicular cancer typically diagnosed?

Most cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed before the cancer has had a chance to spread beyond the testicles. Testicular cancer generally has a favorable treatment outcome, but an early diagnosis greatly affects treatment success.

Regular health screenings, increased awareness, and improved diagnostic imaging can contribute to an early diagnosis of testicular cancer.

Where does testicular cancer typically spread to?

It most commonly spreads to the lung and the lymph nodes of the pelvis, chest, and base of the neck. More advanced stages of testicular cancer may have spread to the bones and liver.

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

Early testicular cancer does not always have symptoms, but if symptoms do appear, they can include:

  • testicular swelling
  • lump in the testicle
  • testicular discomfort or pain
  • lower abdominal or back pain
  • breast tissue enlargement
  • voice changes (in prepubescent age people)
  • facial and body hair growth (in prepubescent age people)

Symptoms of late stage testicular cancer can include:

  • cough
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • low back pain due to metastasis
  • belly pain
  • headaches
  • confusion

Testicular cancer has favorable survival rates, with an overall relative 5-year survival rate of about 95%. Due to regular health screenings, increased awareness, and possible symptoms, early diagnosis of testicular cancer is common.

Even late stage testicular cancer may be cured, though these numbers decrease with more advanced cancer.

Treatment for testicular cancer may lead to long-term side effects and possibly a reduced life expectancy. This is primarily due to the increased risk of secondary cancers and other treatment-related issues. Working closely with a healthcare team during testicular cancer treatment can help minimize your long-term issues.