Testicular cancer types

Most testicular cancers develop from germ cells in the testicles, so they are also called germ cell tumours. There are two main types, seminomas and non-seminomas.

Germ cell tumours

After surgeons have removed the testicle, the tissue is examined under a microscope. This will help doctors find out the type of testicular cancer you may have.

Most testicular cancers develop from germ cells in the testicles. They are also called germ cell tumours (GCTs). Germ cells in the testicles produce sperm. 

There are 2 main types of testicular germ cell cancer:

  • seminomas
  • non-seminomas.

Sometimes, testicular cancers are a combination of non-seminomas and seminomas. This is also called a mixed germ cell tumour cancer. Testicular cancer is the general term used for all types of testicular cancer.


Seminomas can happen between the ages of 15 and 50. But the average age at diagnosis is 35. About 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) testicular cancers are seminoma.


Non-seminomas usually occur between the ages of 15 and 35. About 40 to 45 in 100 (40 to 45%) testicular cancers are non-seminoma.

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. 

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 rare types of cancer called Leydig cell tumours and Sertoli cell tumours. Another rare type of testicular cancer is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

To find out more about these rarer types of testicular cancer and their treatment, contact our cancer support specialists.

Related pages

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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 Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

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Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 May 2022
Next review: 01 May 2025
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