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Family History May Play a Strong Role in Testicular Cancer

Considering its status as one of the rarer forms of the disease, not many men understand testicular cancer, its symptoms or the risk factors they may face. This form of the disease, which involves tumor formation in the testicles, strikes less than 9,000 American men each year. An estimated 380 die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

A new study has shed light on a strong potential link between family history and the formation of testicular cancer. The study involved a study of more than 22,000 twins. Researchers were looking at the twins to discern the familial risk for a variety of cancers. In regard to testicular, the results were especially strong. As it turned out, researchers found out a man was about 12 times more likely to develop testicular cancer if a fraternal twin developed it. That risk climbed to 26 times if identical twins were involved.

The study also found a significant increase in risk based on family history for a number of other forms of cancer. These included prostate and breast, but also rarer forms of cancer, such as head and neck, ovarian and stomach cancers.

In regard to testicular cancer, men will find this form of the disease is often highly treatable if it is detected early. This can be accomplished by paying attention to such signs as the swelling or enlarged testicles, a noticeable lump or any changes in size or shape. Testicular self-exams can help men find this condition should it develop. Regular annual medical examinations after puberty may also include screening for this form of the disease. If the disease be detected, a variety of potential treatments exist including surgery, chemo and radiation.

Men who have a family history of testicular cancer are urged to discuss this condition with their healthcare providers. Although rare, this form of cancer can be deadly if left unchecked. Other risk factors beyond family history include having an undescended testicle, HIV infection, ethnicity with white men much more likely to develop the disease.

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