The incidence of testicular cancer was examined in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland and Germany by collaboration among 10 cancer registries. Population-based registers were used to analyze a total of 34,309 cases, diagnosed from the start of registration (varying from 1943 in Denmark to 1980 in Latvia and Lithuania) through 1989. An approximately 10-fold geographical variation was found in 1980, with the highest age-standardized incidence rate (7.8 per 10(5); world standard population) in Denmark and the lowest (0.9) in Lithuania. During the entire period of registration, incidence increased rapidly in all countries, by 2.3 to 3.4 per cent annually in the Nordic countries and by about 5 per cent in Poland and Germany; there was some evidence of a slower increase in Denmark and Poland after 1975. The rising trend was more pronounced for ages below 30. The age-specific incidence peaked in all countries at ages 25 to 34, but the geographical variation was considerable. Our data indicate that environmental influences on testicular cancer are strong. Exposure to causal factors mostly takes place early in life, shows substantial geographical variation, and increases over time, so that the age-standardized incidence doubles every 15 to 25 years. New aetiological hypotheses are needed to accommodate these salient features of the descriptive epidemiology, since risk factors considered so far cannot explain the observed pattern.