Possible Risk Factors

The following factors have some association with testicular cancer, but there is not enough evidence to say they are known risk factors. Further study is needed to clarify the role of these factors for testicular cancer.

  • testicular microlithiasis (calcium specks in the testicle) – Studies show that men with testicular microlithiasis are more likely to develop testicular cancer.
  • HIV infection or AIDS – Studies suggest that men with a weakened immune system due to HIV or AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome caused by the HIV virus) have a slightly higher risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • early puberty – Some studies suggest that men who enter puberty at an early age have a higher incidence of testicular cancer. Other studies have not shown a link between early puberty and testicular cancer.
  • height – Several studies suggest an increased risk of testicular cancer in men who are taller than average. Other studies show no link between height and testicular cancer.
  • decreased fertility – Decreased fertility (subfertility) is associated with testicular cancer. It is not clear if subfertility is a cause of testicular cancer or if the same disease process causes both decreased fertility and testicular cancer.
  • pesticides – Some studies suggest that exposure to certain pesticides, such as organochlorine pesticides, increases the risk of testicular cancer.
  • marijuana – Some studies suggest a possible link between marijuana use and testicular cancer.
  • prenatal exposure to estrogens – Some studies suggest that the sons of mothers who took diethylstilbestrol (DES) have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. DES is a form of estrogen used between 1940 and 1971 to treat women with certain problems during pregnancy (such as miscarriages).