Diagnosing testicular lumps and swellings  

Visit your GP if you notice any changes in your testicles.

Most testicular lumps are not caused by testicular cancer and many do not necessarily need any treatment, but it is best to get them checked out.

Your GP will ask you whether you have:

  • felt any pain, and if so, where it was, how severe it was, how suddenly it developed and how long it has lasted 
  • any other symptoms, such as pain when you urinate or any discharge from your penis, which could be a sign of an infection
  • a history of trauma, such as a sports injury to your groin 

They will also want to examine your testicles to check:

  • the size of your testicles 
  • the position of the lump or swelling 
  • whether the lump causes any pain when it is touched 
  • whether the lump is firm or soft

Your GP may hold a small light or torch against the lump in your testicle to see whether light passes through it. This can help differentiate between solid lumps and lumps caused by a build-up of fluid (such as hydroceles).

Further tests

Depending on what your GP thinks may be the cause of your symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist – such as a urologist (a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the urinary system) – for further assessment or your GP may arrange more tests.

If testicular torsion is suspected, you will usually be referred to hospital for an urgent assessment to see whether an immediate operation is necessary.

Testing for infections

Your GP may take a urine sample if they suspect your lump or swelling may be caused by an infection. They may also use a swab (small cotton bud) to collect a sample of cells and fluid from your urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). This sample can also be tested to see if you have an infection.

You may be referred to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic if it is thought you may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound scan is used if there is any uncertainty about the cause of your lump or swelling. This is a painless scan that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the inside of your scrotum.

An ultrasound scan can help give a clearer indication of whether the lump is solid or filled with fluid and can help determine the likelihood of the lump being cancerous.


Page last reviewed: 07/10/2014

Next review due: 07/07/2017