With early detection and treatment, death due to testicular cancer is unlikely. However, the risk is much higher after the tumor spreads to organs other than the lungs.

The National Cancer Institute is the source of the above information.

While survival varies with the extent of spread, the overall 5-year relative survival rate (RSR) for testicular cancer is 95.2%.

The relative survival is the percentage of expected survival of people with the cancer compared to those who do not have the cancer.

Testicular cancer happens when cancerous cells develop in one or both testes, which are the sex glands responsible for making sperm.

Keep reading to learn more about the possibility of death from testicular cancer, including how fast it spreads, and whether it is curable.

The bare legs of an older male -1.Share on Pinterest
Violeta Carlos/Getty Images

Yes, death is possible, as it caused an estimated 470 deaths in the United States in 2023. This number represents 0.1% of all cancer deaths.

Death can occur even with treatment, but without treatment, it is much more likely. An older 2013 review notes that untreated testicular cancer may spread in the body and eventually lead to death.

The outlook depends, in part, on the type of testicular cancer. Most tumors arise from sperm-forming cells or germ cells — these are known as geminal tumors.

There are two main types of geminal tumors: seminomas and nonseminomas. About 40% are seminomas, which affect cells in the early stage of their development. The others are nonseminomas, which affect mature cells.

Outlook also depends on levels of tumor markers and the extent of spread. Below are the criteria for stages 1, 2, and 3 testicular cancer:

Stage 1

The earliest stage of testicular cancer is stage 1. This stage means that the cancer has not spread to other nearby parts of the body. It is only in the testicle.

Stage 2

Stage 2 testicular cancer means the cancer cells are no longer solely contained in the testicle. They are now affecting nearby lymph nodes in the pelvis or abdomen.

A doctor may also note typical or slightly elevated levels of markers in the blood.

Stage 3

In stage 3 testicular cancer, the cancer has spread further and is now affecting lymph nodes or other organs.

Learn more about late-stage testicular cancer symptoms to look out for.

The speed of cancer spread can depend upon the type of tumor. Nonseminomas usually grow and spread more rapidly than seminomas.

When the tumors spread, they first reach nearby lymph nodes, and afterward, they may spread to lymph nodes near the aorta (a major blood vessel).

Tumors that continue to spread may reach the lungs, liver, brain, or bone.

Learn more about metastatic testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is usually curable in people who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy after their primary treatment, which is surgery. In fact, the cure rate is as high as 90%.

This excellent rate stems from the fact that testicular tumors are sensitive to the chemotherapy medication cisplatin (Platinol, Platinol-AQ), which interferes with cancer cell growth.

It is also due to the sensitivity of the tumors to radiation therapy, which emits beams of high energy to kill cancer cells.

The 5-year overall RSR is 95.2%, based on data from 2013–2019.

Learn more about testicular cancer treatments.

Since testicular cancer has a cure rate as high as 90%, the risk of death is not large. However, deaths do occur, as there were an estimated 470 deaths in 2023.

The earlier detection occurs and treatment starts, the better the outlook. Survival rates are good with prompt surgical removal, along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Without surgical removal of the tumor, death is much more likely.

Some types of testicular spread faster than others. Nonseminomas are more aggressive than seminomas.

Because the cancer has a high cure rate in the early course, a person may wish to ask their doctor if they should undergo screening periodically.