Symptoms - Testicular cancer

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea but may be larger.

Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum aren't in the testicle and aren't a sign of cancer, but they should never be ignored.

Other symptoms

Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:

  • an increase in the firmness of a testicle
  • a difference between one testicle and the other
  • a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum

When to see your GP

See your GP if you notice a swelling, lump or any other change in one of your testicles.

Lumps within the scrotum can have many different causes, and testicular cancer is rare. Your GP will examine you and, if they think the lump is in your testicle, they may consider cancer as a possible cause.

Research has shown that less than 4% of scrotal lumps or swellings are cancerous. For example, varicoceles (swollen blood vessels) and epididymal cysts (cysts in the tubes around the testicle) are common causes of testicular lumps.

If you do have testicular cancer, the sooner treatment begins, the greater the likelihood that you'll be completely cured.

If you don't feel comfortable visiting your GP, you can go to your local sexual health clinic, where a healthcare professional will be able to examine you.

Metastatic cancer

If testicular cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may also experience other symptoms. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is known as metastatic cancer.

Around 5% of people with testicular cancer will experience symptoms of metastatic cancer.

The most common place for testicular cancer to spread to is nearby lymph nodes in your abdomen or lungs. Lymph nodes are glands that make up your immune system. Less commonly, the cancer can spread to your liver, brain or bones.

Symptoms of metastatic testicular cancer can include:

Page last reviewed: 30/06/2016
Next review due: 30/06/2019