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). In men, germ cells 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 in men aged 15 to 55. About 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) of men with testicular cancer have a seminoma.

Non-seminoma

Non-seminomas most often affect men aged 15 to 35. They happen in about 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) of men with testicular cancer.

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.