Is there a link between testicular microlithiasis and testicular cancer?

Answers from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.

Testicular microlithiasis (tes-TIK-yoo-lur my-kroh-lih-THIE-uh-sis) is an uncommon condition — diagnosed during a testicular ultrasound — in which small clusters of calcium form in the testicles. A number of studies show a relationship between testicular microlithiasis and testicular cancer. However, it remains unclear whether having testicular microlithiasis is an independent risk factor for testicular cancer.

Most studies of testicular microlithiasis involve men who had testicular ultrasounds done for some other reason, such as swelling, pain or infertility. In these studies, there appears to be a small association between testicular microlithiasis and testicular cancer. However, studies of healthy men with no symptoms show that testicular microlithiasis is much more common than is testicular cancer. As a result, researchers believe that testicular microlithiasis is unlikely to increase an otherwise healthy man's risk of testicular cancer.

If you have testicular microlithiasis, your medical history will likely affect your doctor's follow-up recommendations. For example:

  • You are healthy and have no symptoms or risk factors for testicular cancer. No other testing is needed. However, your doctor might recommend that you do regular testicular self-exams and make an appointment if you find any unusual lumps.
  • You have other risk factors for testicular cancer. If you have other risk factors for testicular cancer, such as a previously undescended testicle, your doctor might recommend close follow-up with annual testicular ultrasound scans.
Jan. 31, 2014