Testicular cancer types

After the surgeon has removed the testicle (orchidectomy) the tissue is examined under a microscope. This will find out the type of testicular cancer you have.

Germ cell tumours

After the surgeon has removed the testicle (orchidectomy) the tissue is examined under a microscope. This will find out the type of testicular cancer you have.

Most testicular cancers develop from germ cells in the testicles, so they are also called germ cell tumours (GCTs). Germ cells in the testicles produce sperm. The term testicular cancer is for all types of testicular tumour.

There are two main types of testicular germ cell cancer:

  • seminomas
  • non-seminomas.

Seminoma

Seminomas usually happen between the ages of 15 to 55. About 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) of testicular cancer are a seminoma.

Non-seminoma

Non-seminomas most often affect people aged 15 to 35. About 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) of testicular cancers are non-seminomas.

Non-seminomas are made of different types of cells. They can be made of just one cell type, or they may be made of a mixture. They include:

  • teratomas
  • embryonal tumours
  • yolk sac tumours
  • choriocarcinomas.

Sometimes, non-seminomas can be combined with seminomas.

We have more information about testicular cancer treatment.

Rarer types

Sometimes, the cancer found in the testicle is not a germ cell tumour, but another type of cancer. These include a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Other rare types are Leydig cell tumours and Sertoli cell tumours.

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    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Jim Barber, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

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