Testicular cancer

The testicles are the male organs within the scrotum. As well as producing sperm, the testicles produce the male hormone testosterone. This is essential for healthy sexual development.

 

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is uncommon and mostly affects males aged 15-49. The most common type is germ cell testicular cancer. Germ cells are the cells used to create sperm. The two types of germ cell testicular cancer include:

    • Seminomas: responsible for around half of cases
    • Non-seminomas: these include choriocarcinomas, embryonal carcinomas, teratomas and yolk sac tumours

Rarer types of testicular cancer include lymphoma, Leydig cell tumours and Sertoli cell tumours.

Causes of testicular cancer

No one is sure exactly what causes testicular cancer. It’s more likely if a man has undescended testicles. In most cases, babies are born with their testicles already in the scrotum. In rare cases, a baby’s testicles remain in his abdomen – although they may naturally descend into the scrotum during his first year. However, men with undescended testicles have a much higher chance of having testicular cancer than those whose testicles descended at birth or soon afterwards. Other risk factors include:

    • A family history of testicular cancer or undescended testicles
    • Having had testicular cancer in the past

Symptoms of testicular cancer

In most cases, symptoms include:

A lump or swelling in one of the testicles

Changes in shape or texture of the testicles

Pain, aching or feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

Pain in your back, groin or lower abdomen

Tenderness or swelling in the breast or nipple (caused by hormonal changes)

Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer but it’s best to ask your doctor for advice. The sooner your cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it successfully.

Tests and diagnosis

As well as discussing your symptoms and carrying out a physical examination, you may be offered:

  • Blood tests to check your hormone levels
  • Scans including ultrasound, CT and MRI
  • Removal of the testicle (orchidectomy) for analysis. It’s rare to carry out a biopsy because it can risk the cancer spreading

Treatments we offer

Treatments of testicular cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
 
 

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton, West Midlands, Coldfield B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Cancer Centre, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Notthingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Portsmouth, Bartons Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Southampton Centre, Chalybeate Close (off Tremona Road), Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamShire, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3HD

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