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.

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Meet our doctors

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

Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 353 3055

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

01454 456500

Cambridge

Fordham Rd, Newmarket CB8 7XN, UK

+44 (0)1223 907 600

Chelmsford

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

+44 (0)1245 987 901

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

020 7460 5626

Elstree

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

+44 (0)208 236 9040

Guildford

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

+44 (0)1483 806 000

Maidstone

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

+44 (0)1732 207 000

Milton Keynes

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

+44 (0)1908 467 700

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)115 966 2250

Oxford

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

+44 (0)1865 237 700

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9248 4992

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)238 076 4961

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 418 444