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Male Reproductive Cancers

What is cancer?

  • Cancer occurs when cells in the body grow out of control.

  • Cancers are named for the part of the body where they start.

How are reproductive cancers treated?

  • The treatment depends on the type of cancer.

  • Reproductive cancers are often treated with surgery, chemotherapy (medicine to kill cancer cells), hormone therapy (medicine to block hormones that are related to cancer growth), or radiation.

  • One or more of these treatments may be used together.

  • An oncologist (cancer doctor) can help you select the right treatment.

What are reproductive cancers

Reproductive cancers start in the organs related to reproduction (sex). These organs are located in the pelvis. The pelvis is the area in the lower belly between the hip bones.

Download Male Reproductive Cancers Fact Sheet

What are reproductive cancers?

  • Reproductive cancers start in the organs related to reproduction (sex).
  • The most common reproductive cancers in men are:
  • Penile (PEE-nile)—begins in the penis, part of the external genitals.
  • Testicular (tes-TIH-kyuh-ler)—begins in the testicles, the two egg-shaped glands near the base of the penis that make sperm.
  • Prostate (PROS-tayt)—begins in the prostate, a gland that surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder).

What are the early symptoms of reproductive cancers?

Each type of reproductive cancer has different symptoms.

  • Penile—Redness, discomfort, a sore or a lump on the penis.
  • Testicular—Pain, discomfort, a lump or swelling in the testicle, aching in the lower abdomen (belly).
  • Prostate— Weak flow of urine, blood in urine, pain in the back, hips, or pelvis (lower belly between the hips), needing to pass urine often.
  • It's important to see a health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.
  • Sometimes cancer causes no symptoms and is found because of a lab test that is not normal.

Are there tests to screen for reproductive cancers?

  • Health care providers use screening tests to find a disease before the person has any symptoms.
  • There are no screening tests for testicular or penile cancer. It’s important for men to see a health care provider about any symptoms. Finding cancers early increases the chance of success.
  • There are two screening tests for prostate cancer:
    • prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test—blood test for PSA, a protein made by the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can increase the PSA level. Conditions that are not cancerous can also increase the PSA.
    • Rectal exam—the health care provider inserts a gloved finger into rectum to check for lumps in the prostate
  • Health care providers use diagnostic tests to find cancers in people who have symptoms.
  • The tests used to find reproductive cancers depend on the type. These tests include:
    • Lab tests-blood tests that sometimes show signs of cancer.
    • Ultrasound test-imaging test that helps doctors "see" inside the body.
    • Biopsy-procedure where small pieces of tissue are taken to check for cancer.


National Cancer Institute:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Content created by Office of Population Affairs
Content last reviewed on August 16, 2016