Lump on Testicle (Scrotal Masses)

Lumps or swelling on your testicles (scrotal masses) are usually benign. But in rare cases, they may be a sign of cancer. They can also be a sign of other conditions, including an infection, hernia or swollen vein. A healthcare provider should examine your scrotum and testicles and order tests to determine the cause of any lumps or swelling.

Overview

What is a lump on the testicle?

A lump on a testicle is a growth that can form on or around your testicle (testis). Testicles are walnut-shaped sex glands in the thin pouch of skin behind your penis (scrotum). Most people with testicles have two, but you can have more or fewer. They produce reproductive cells (sperm) and the hormone testosterone.

A testicular lump can be a symptom of other medical conditions, most of which aren’t serious. Most scrotal masses are benign (not cancerous). However, some testicle lumps can affect fertility. In some cases, they can even be a sign of a serious condition, such as testicular cancer.

Another name for a lump on your testicle is a scrotal mass.

What should I do if I find a lump on my testicle?

Call a healthcare provider right away to schedule an appointment if you notice a lump on your testicle. A provider can diagnose what kind of scrotal mass you have and, if necessary, recommend the most appropriate treatment. If a testicular lump is a sign of a more serious condition, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.

Some people discover a lump on their testicles during a testicular self-exam. In other cases, they or a partner may notice it during sexual activity.

Where would a lump on my testicle be?

It depends on the cause. A scrotal mass can appear on any area of your testicle. It can also appear in an area around your testicle.

How common is a lump on the testicle?

Testicular lumps are common. Most lumps you may discover on or around your testicles aren’t cancerous. But you should still schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider to get an official diagnosis and proper treatment, if necessary.

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Possible Causes

What are the most common causes of testicular lumps?

The most common causes of testicular lumps include:

  • Epididymitis. Epididymitis is inflammation in your epididymis. Your epididymis is a tube that runs behind and over the top of each testicle. Its main job is to store and transport sperm.
  • Hydroceles. A hydrocele is when fluid fills your scrotum and causes swelling.
  • Inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia is a type of hernia in which abdominal tissue bulges through an opening in your abdominal wall. It may cause a bulge in your groin area.
  • Orchitis. Orchitis is when a bacterial or viral infection causes one or both of your testicles to swell painfully.
  • Spermatoceles. A spermatocele is a cyst of the epididymis that contains clear or cloudy fluid that may contain sperm.
  • Testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is when cancer cells develop in the tissues of one or both of your testicles.
  • Varicoceles. Varicoceles are swollen veins in your scrotum.

Do testicular lumps have any other symptoms?

Testicular lump symptoms depend on their cause and/or the size of your lump. Some types of testicular bumps may cause few or no symptoms and won’t bother you at all. More bothersome symptoms may include:

  • Shrinking testicle (testicular atrophy).
  • Pain or a dull ache in your testicles or scrotum, which may move to other areas of your groin or body.
  • Swelling in your testicles or scrotum.
  • A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum or testicles.
  • Blood in your semen (hematospermia).
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Pain when you pee (dysuria).
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Some types of conditions that cause testicular lumps may also affect your ability to achieve pregnancy (infertility).

What does a testicular cyst feel like?

Testicular cysts usually feel like small, hard lumps.

Is a testicular cancer lump hard or soft?

Testicular cancer lumps usually feel hard to the touch.

What are the warnings signs of testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer warning signs include:

  • A lump on your testicle.
  • Your testicle swells or becomes larger.
  • Pain in your testicle or scrotum.
  • A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum.

Is a cancer lump in or on the testicle?

Cancer lumps usually appear in your testicle.

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Care and Treatment

How are lumps on the testicle diagnosed?

A healthcare provider will:

  • Review your medical history.
  • Ask questions about your symptoms and sexual health.
  • Conduct a physical examination.

They may also order several tests to identify the cause of the scrotal mass, including:

  • Testicular ultrasound. A pelvic ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging test that can show the lump’s location and help your provider rule out conditions such as a hernia or testicular cancer.
  • Blood tests. A provider will use a tiny needle (21 gauge, about the size of a standard earring) to withdraw a small blood sample. A blood test can help determine if you have an infection or inflammation.
  • Urinalysis. During a urinalysis, you’ll pee into a small container. A provider will examine your sample’s visual, chemical and microscopic components to determine if you have an infection or inflammation.

Do testicular lumps go away?

With proper treatment, symptoms from testicular lumps can resolve. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you notice any changes to your testicles to avoid any possible complications.

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How is a scrotal mass treated?

Treatment for a scrotal lump depends on the cause. If your testicular lump doesn’t cause you any pain or discomfort and isn’t a sign of a serious condition, you might not need treatment.

Standard therapies for scrotal masses may include:

What are the possible complications or risks of not treating a scrotal mass?

It depends on what type of scrotal mass you have. Most lumps on your testicle are harmless. Epididymitis and orchitis may cause:

  • A painful collection of pus (an abscess) in your scrotum.
  • Fluid buildup in your scrotum.
  • Your testicles to shrink.
  • Infertility.

Testicular cancer can also cause infertility. Without treatment, it can also be fatal.

The earlier you see a healthcare provider to diagnose your scrotal mass, the better your chances of avoiding serious complications.

Can a testicle lump be prevented?

You can’t prevent some causes of testicular lumps. However, it’s a good idea to regularly check your scrotum or testicles for lumps or any other changes. You only need to spend a few moments conducting a testicular self-exam once a month.

You can help prevent bacterial or viral causes by:

  • Using condoms during sexual intercourse to help prevent STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Getting vaccines for viral or bacterial infections that can cause scrotal masses.
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When to Call the Doctor

When should a scrotal mass be treated by a doctor or healthcare provider?

Call a healthcare provider if you:

  • Notice a lump on or around your testicles or scrotum.
  • Have swelling in your scrotum.
  • Feel heaviness in your scrotum.
  • Have long-lasting aches or pain.
  • Have signs of an infection.

Additional Common Questions

What is the difference between a testicular cyst and cancer?

A testicular cyst is a fluid-filled bump. It usually feels softer.

A testicular cancer lump is usually more solid than a cyst. It feels harder to the touch.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Testicular lumps are a common symptom that can appear in anyone with testicles at different ages. Most scrotal masses aren’t cancer and don’t pose a risk to your health. But they can be alarming, and there’s a chance they could be serious, especially if they appear along with other symptoms. Some masses can cause infertility or even be fatal without a proper diagnosis and necessary treatment. It’s important to see a healthcare provider as soon as you notice a lump on your testicle. You may worry or feel awkward about the idea of someone examining your testicles. But a provider will do everything they can to make you comfortable.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/10/2023.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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