HEALTH: Testicular Cancer

British men are paying the price for neglecting their health: more than 100,000 men a year die prematurely. On average men go to their GP half as often as women.

Testicular cancer occurs when normal, healthy cells, which are carefully regulated by the body, begin to reproduce uncontrollably within an area of the body such as the testicles. The testicles are two small oval shaped organs which can also be called the testes or gonads and are the male sex glands which hang down behind the penis, in the scrotum. It’s quite normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other, although the size and shape should be roughly the same. It can also be normal for one to hang a bit lower than the other.

Unlike many cancers, there are few known strong risk factors for testicular cancer, and we cannot currently predict who is likely to get the disease (unlike the link between lung cancer and smoking).

The Facts

  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 25-49 years.
  • Each year in the UK around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.
  • Testicular cancer is relatively uncommon, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men.
  • Rates of testicular cancer are five times higher in white men than in black men. The reasons for this are unclear.

Signs and Symptoms

  • A small pea sized lump can be felt in around 90% of cases and in over 80% of cases this will be painless
  • Dragging sensation, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the scrotum (the sac of skin that hangs underneath the penis and contains the testicles)
  • Recent history of trauma (10%), leading to examination and discovery of a lump
    Back pain caused by enlarged lymph nodes in the back

It’s important to be aware of what feels normal for you. Get to know your body and see your GP if you notice any changes.

Read more about the symptoms of testicular cancer on the NHS Choices website

Causes of testicular cancer

The cause or causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but a number of things have been identified that increase the chance of developing the condition. These include:

  • having a family history of testicular cancer
  • being born with undescended testicles
  • (cryptorchidism). About 3-5% of boys are born with their testicles located inside their abdomen, which usually descend into the scrotum during the first four months of life causes of testicular cancer.


Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer. More than 96% of men with early stage testicular cancer will be completely cured. Even cases of more advanced testicular cancer, where the cancer has spread outside the testicles to nearby tissue, have an 80% chance of being cured.

Read more about treating testicular cancer on the NHS Choices website

Sources of Local Support

  • Your GP If you’ve noticed something unusual about your body, or any of the possible signs and symptoms of cancer, it’s important that you see your doctor and tell them about what’s happening.
  • The Macmillan Unit @ Calderdale Royal Hospital, Salterhebble, Halifax, HX3 0PW – Created for the people of Calderdale, Huddersfield and surrounding areas, who are affected by cancer or other life limiting illnesses. The centre offers a comfortable and relaxing setting for you to discuss your needs and concerns confidentially; access to specialist cancer care nurses and support from trained volunteers; and information on all aspects of living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses.
    Telephone: 01422 222709
    Telephone Macmillan: 0808 808 00 00
    Email Macmillan: Online contact form
    Testicular cancer information:
  • Calderdale Dart -Here in Calderdale, the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) funds a specific welfare benefits service for people affected by cancer. This service is delivered by Calderdale D.A.R.T. – If anyone wishes to seek advice or make a referral to the Cancer Support Service, you can do so by….
    Telephone: 01422 346040.

Sources of Support

NHS Choices

Choices your health, your choices
for information on testicular cancer
and for information on cancer see


Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by or interested in male cancer – prostate, testicular and penile cancer.
Telephone: 0808 802 0010