The incidence of testicular cancer has been increasing markedly in most industrialised countries. This rise is known to have affected young adults, but it is less clear whether it has affected other age groups, particularly children. We used data from the National Cancer Registry file at the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the National Registry of Childhood Tumours to examine trends in testicular germ-cell malignancies overall in England and Wales from 1962 to 1990 and in children from 1962 to 1995. The incidence of testicular cancer at all ages rose by 3.4% (95% CI 3.3-3.6%) per annum from 1962 to 1990. A similar rise in the incidence of germ-cell malignancies occurred during the years for which histological information was available in the ONS files, 1971-1989 (3.4%; 3.1-3.6%), to which both seminomas and non-seminomas contributed equally. The incidence of non-seminomas in adults rose in men under age 55 years and declined in older men, whereas there were increases in the incidence of seminomas in both young and older men. Cohort analysis at young ages showed a marked rise in the risk of germ-cell malignancies up to the cohort born in 1955-1959 but no further rise for those born subsequently. The rise in the incidence of these tumours in young adults was paralleled by a similar trend, although less marked, in children aged under 15 years (1.3% per annum; 0.2-2.5%). The increase in risk for children in this very large data set alongside the rise in young adults is compatible with the hypothesis that childhood and adult testicular germ-cell malignancies may have some common risk factors, presumably pre-natal.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.