The risk for testicular cancer is more than 20
times greater in males who have an undescended testicle than in other
The higher up in the path of
descent a testicle stops, the more likely it is to develop a tumor. An
undescended testicle in the abdomen is 4 to 6 times more likely to develop
cancer than an undescended testicle in locations farther down toward the
Moving the testicle to the scrotum may help reduce the
higher risk associated with undescended testicles that are not treated. Most
doctors recommend surgery to place undescended testicles in the scrotum because
this makes it much easier to find testicular cancer if it does develop.
Because of the risk of cancer, men who have an undescended testicle
should have regular medical checkups (at least once every 2 years) throughout
life. These checkups may include a testicular exam. If you have an undescended
testicle, talk to your doctor about how often you need to be checked.
Some doctors recommend a testicular biopsy during surgery to correct an
undescended testicle (orchiopexy) if the undescended testicle is in the abdomen
or the child has genital defects, such as
hypospadias, or a
genetic disorder. In this test, a small sample of
tissue is taken from the testicles and examined to determine the potential for
Zeitler PS, et al. (2011). Cryptorchidism section of
Endocrine disorders. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 973–974. New York:
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.