UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Gregory Zagaja, MD, in surgery
Urologist Gregory Zagaja, MD, right, is a member of the testicular cancer treatment team.

When patients with testicular cancer come to the University of Chicago Medicine, they can be certain to receive the most advanced tests and treatments available — including minimally invasive surgical approaches and stem cell transplantation — from some of the nation’s leading physician experts.

Our goal is to help our patients beat cancer. Our physicians also place great emphasis on quality of life issues, including retaining sexual confidence after testicular cancer surgery.

Many cases of testicular cancer are straight forward, and the treatment path is well defined. However, patients with risky or rare types of testicular cancer can benefit from a team approach to cancer care like we have at UChicago Medicine. To ensure we are considering all possible aspects of a patient’s individual case, our medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists convene to discuss and identify the best treatment options.

We also work closely with pediatric cancer specialists colleagues at UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital on the care of children and teenagers with testicular cancer.

Classifying Testicular Cancer

Not all testicular cancer is the same. Our highly experienced pathologists are experts at identifying both rare and common forms of the disease by examining cancer cells under a microscope, while also considering blood markers.

Treatment and prognosis can vary, depending on the type of testicular cancer a man has:

Germ cell testicular cancer

More than 95 percent of testicular cancer starts in cells that make sperm, which are called germ cells. This type of cancer is further classified into two subtypes:

Seminomas: A small proportion of these cancers may increase blood levels of a protein called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).

  • Classical seminomas account for most of these tumors and primarily occur in men ages 25 to 45.
  • Spermatocytic seminomas are rarer and tend to occur in older men.

Non-seminomas: These cancers often occur in young men in their late teens to early 30s.

  • Embyronal carcinomas may increase levels of two proteins in the blood: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
  • Yolk sac carcinomas typically occur in children and also raise AFP levels.
  • Choriocarcinomas are rare and increase HCG levels.
  • Teratomas are also rare and divided into three types: mature, immature and teratoma with somatic type malignancy.

Stromal tumors

This rare type of testicular cancer starts in supportive tissue called stroma. The two types of stromal tumors — Leydig cell tumors and Sertoli cell tumors — tend to be less aggressive and don’t typically spread beyond the testicle.

Secondary testicular cancers

When other types of cancer (e.g., leukemia) spread to testicular cells, it is known as a secondary cancer.

Testicular Cancer Treatment

Depending on the subtype of testicular cancer a patient has, our physicians may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Walter Stadler, MD, medical oncologist

Cancer Care Second Opinions

Request a second opinion with a UChicago Medicine urologic cancer expert.

Robotic urologic surgery

Expert Urologic Care

UChicago Medicine urologists provide a wide range of surgical and nonsurgical treatments for urologic conditions in men and women.