The testicles

It can be embarrassing to talk about your testicles and any changes to them. But understanding more about them might help.

Testicles are small and oval-shaped. They hang below your penis in a sac called the scrotum.

The testicles start to produce more of a hormone called testosterone when you reach puberty. Puberty is when your body begins to change from a child into an adult. For boys, this happens around the age of 12. The extra testosterone gives you a lower voice, hair on your face and body, and makes your muscles get bigger. You also need it for your sex drive and for getting an erection.

The testicles also make sperm from puberty onwards. When sperm fertilises a woman’s egg during sex, this can start a pregnancy.

The testicles make millions of sperm every day. If sperm are not ejaculated, they are absorbed back into your body.

The epididymis stores sperm until ejaculation. When you ejaculate, the sperm travel through the spermatic cord and mix with fluid from the prostate to make semen. They go out of the body through the urethra (this is the same tube you pee through). You can see all these body parts in these diagrams.

MACD045B-Male-reproductive-system-labelled
MACD045B-Male-reproductive-system-labelled

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The structure of the testicle
The structure of the testicle

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Lymph nodes (glands)

We have lymph nodes throughout our bodies. They are part of the lymphatic system, which protects us from infections. Lymph nodes are small and round, and are connected by tiny tubes that carry fluid called lymph.

Sometimes cancer cells from the testicle can spread to lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen (tummy). You will have a scan to check your lymph nodes. 

We have more information about testicular cancer and lymph nodes in our general testicular cancer section. This information is for all age groups.

Back to Testicular cancer

Having tests

You may have tests to help your doctors see whether you have testicular cancer.

Treatment

The main treatments for testicular cancer are surgery and chemotherapy.

Life after treatment

Being diagnosed with testicular cancer can have a big impact on your life, even after you have finished treatment.