About testicular cancer

Each year in the UK, around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer. It is more common in white men and in younger to middle-aged men.

Treatment for testicular cancer is very effective and nearly all men are cured. Like other cancers, it isn’t infectious and can’t be passed on to other people.

Types of testicular cancer

Testicular cancers are also called germ cell tumours (GCTs). Germ cells in men produce sperm, and these tumours usually develop in the testicles.

We use the term testicular cancer for all types of testicular tumours. After you’ve had your testicle removed, the tissue is examined under a microscope to find out the type of testicular cancer you have. There are two main types of testicular cancer – seminomas and non-seminomas.

Seminoma

These usually occur in men between 25–55 years of age. About 40–45 in 100 (40–45%) of men with testicular cancer have a seminoma.

Non-seminoma

Non-seminomas usually affect younger men aged between 15–35 years old. They occur in about 40–45 in 100 (40–45%) of men with testicular cancer. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. They can be made up of an individual cell type or mixture of cell types. Sometimes they are combined with seminomas. Although there are some minor differences, these tumours behave and are treated in similar ways.

Rarer types

Sometimes, a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in the testicles. Other rare types are Leydig cell tumours and Sertoli cell tumours. For more information about these tumours you can contact our cancer support specialists on 0800 808 00 00.

Back to Understanding testicular cancer

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of our cells. Sometimes cells go wrong and become abnormal. They keep dividing to make more abnormal cells which form a lump or tumour.

The testicles

The testicles produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. They are the main part of the male reproductive system.

The lymphatic system

The lymphatic system includes lymph nodes (glands). Sometimes, cancer cells spread to lymph nodes near to where the cancer started.

Testicular self-examination

Regularly checking your testicles from puberty can help find a testicular cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat.