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Question : I was diagnosed with testicular cancer shortly after a bad case of chickenpox. Could it be related? What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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April 09, 2014
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The virus that causes chickenpox is not associated with testicular cancer. The only infection with a possible link to testicular cancer is HIV.

One of the well-known risk factors for testicular cancer is an undescended testicle. Normally, the testicles develop inside the abdomen while the baby is still is the mother’s womb. They move down into the scrotum before birth.

Sometimes, one or both testicles do not make it all the way down to the scrotum before the baby is born. They can stay inside the abdomen. Or they might move down but stop in the groin.

Surgery to bring the testicle down into the scrotum appears to decrease later risk of cancer if done while the child is young.

Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of testicular cancer. But most men diagnosed do not have another family member that has had it.
  • Age. About 50% of testicular cancers are diagnosed in men between the ages of 20 and 34.
  • Race and ethnicity. White men have a 4 times higher risk of testicular cancer compared to black men. Caucasian men have a 3 times higher risk than Asian men. 

Trauma to the scrotum is not a risk factor.

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