Symptoms of testicular cancer

The most common symptom is a lump in a testicle, but there may also be other symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • swelling or a lump in a testicle, which is usually painless – occasionally the swelling may suddenly increase in size and become painful
  • a dull ache or pain, or heaviness in the scrotum.

If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, there may be some of the following symptoms:

  • pain in the back or lower abdomen – if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen
  • a cough, breathlessness or difficulty swallowing – if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the chest area, or to the lungs
  • nipple/breast tenderness or breast swelling (gynaecomastia) – this is rare but can be caused by hormones produced by the cancer.

These symptoms can be caused by conditions other than testicular cancer, but it’s always important to have them checked by your doctor. Testicular cancer can still usually be cured even if it has spread when it is diagnosed.

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.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is more common in younger to middle-aged men. There are two main types – seminoma and non-seminoma.

Testicular self-examination

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