Testicular cancer

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Non-cancerous tumours and conditions of the testicle

A non-cancerous (benign) tumour of the testicle is a growth that does not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Non-cancerous tumours are not usually life-threatening. They are typically removed with surgery and do not usually come back (recur).

A non-cancerous condition of the testicle is a change to testicular cells, but it is not cancer. Non-cancerous conditions do not spread to other parts of the body and are not usually life-threatening.

There are many types of non-cancerous tumours and conditions of the testicle.

Non-cancerous tumours

Benign teratoma

Benign teratoma is a non-cancerous germ cell tumour. These tumours begin in germ cells, which are the cells that make sperm in men. They develop before puberty, most often in babies. Benign teratomas are more common than cancerous (malignant) teratomas. Teratomas that develop after puberty are considered cancerous.

Benign teratomas are treated with surgery. If possible, the surgeon will just remove the tumour. Sometimes part or all of the testicle is removed (called a radical inguinal orchiectomy, or an orchiectomy).

Benign sex cord stromal tumour

Sex cord stromal tumours are also called sex cord gonadal stromal tumours. They start in cells of the stroma, which is supportive tissue in the testicle that also makes hormones. There are 2 main types of stromal tumours:

  • Leydig cell tumours
  • Sertoli cell tumours

Most of these tumours are non-cancerous, but some can be cancerous. Benign sex cord stromal tumours are removed with surgery.

Other non-cancerous tumours

Other types of non-cancerous tumours can develop in the testicle and are usually removed by surgery. These include:

  • epidermoid cyst
  • lipoma
  • hemangioma
  • fibroma

Non-cancerous conditions

The following are some of the non-cancerous conditions of the testicle.

Epididymitis is a painful swelling of the epididymis (at the back of the testicle) caused by a bacterial infection. It is common in men aged 19 to 35 years. Epididymitis is treated with antibiotics.

Orchitis is a painful swelling of one or both testicles. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Orchitis is most common in boys after puberty. It is usually treated with antibiotics.

Testicular torsion is a twisting of the testicle inside the scrotum. It causes pain and cuts off the blood supply to the testicle and scrotum. It is more common in babies and at the start of puberty. Surgery is usually needed right away to untwist the testicle. The testicle may have to be removed if the blood supply is cut off for too long.

Other non-cancerous conditions of the testicle include:

  • hydrocele
  • hematocele
  • inguinal hernia
  • scrotal hematoma
  • spermatocele
  • varicocele

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