Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Undescended Testicle: Risk for Testicular Cancer - Topic Overview

Being born with an undescended testicle increases the risk for testicular cancer.

  • The risk for testicular cancer is about 4 to 10 times greater in males who have an undescended testicle than in other males.1
  • The higher up in the path of descent a testicle stops, the more likely it is to develop a tumor. An undescended testicle in the abdomen is 4 to 6 times more likely to develop cancer than an undescended testicle in locations farther down toward the scrotum.

Moving the testicle to the scrotum may help reduce the higher risk associated with undescended testicles that are not treated. Most doctors recommend surgery to place undescended testicles in the scrotum, because this makes it much easier to find testicular cancer if it does develop.

Untreated undescended testicles are usually removed in adult men and teens who have gone through puberty because of the increased risk of testicular cancer.

Because of the risk of cancer, men who have an undescended testicle should have regular medical checkups (at least once every 2 years) throughout life. These checkups may include a testicular exam. If you have an undescended testicle, talk with your doctor about how often you need to be checked.

Some doctors recommend a testicular biopsy during surgery to correct an undescended testicle (orchiopexy) if the undescended testicle is in the abdomen or the child has genital defects, such as hypospadias, or a genetic disorder. In this test, a small sample of tissue is taken from the testicles and examined to find out the potential for developing cancer.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: December 28, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Undescended Testicle: Risk for Testicular Cancer Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    A common one in both men and women.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Do you know the symptoms?
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article