Growths on testicles are rare. When they do occur, it’s most often in boys under age five or those who experience puberty early. Although most masses are benign and do not spread, they still require surgery.
Any abnormalities to a boy’s testicles need to be checked.
Testicular masses (or tumors) are growths on the testicle. The cause is unknown, although researchers know that most masses start in the germ cells – the cells in the embryo that become the cells that make up the male reproductive system. The masses can be benign or malignant.
Certain inherited defects have been associated with an increased risk for germ cell tumors. Boys with undescended testicles have an increased risk of developing testicular germ cell tumors.
- Swollen testicles
- Hard testicles
- Abnormal shape, or irregularity in testicular size
- Testicular pain (although some tumors are painless)
Most testicular tumors are identified by a parent or health-care provider as non-tender swellings in a boy’s scrotum. Most scrotal masses are due to far more common problems, such as:
- Infection of the epididymis
- Testicular torsion
We will determine a mass from these more common conditions by how it feels and if a light shines through it. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, we may also perform:
- Ultrasound — To identify what the mass is and whether more tests or surgery is needed. We use ultrasounds to view internal organs as they function and to evaluate blood flow.
- Computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) — Shows detailed images bones, muscles, fat and organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — A diagnostic procedure using a magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to generate detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- Biopsy — A sample of tissue is removed from the mass and examined under a microscope.
- Complete blood count (CBC) — A measurement of the size, number and maturity of different blood cells in a specific amount of blood.
- Surgical or medical correction of benign masses.
- Orchiectomy – Testicular masses, if malignant, are usually removed along with the entire affected testicle. If the tumor is malignant, your son may also need to receive one or more of the following treatments:
- Chemotherapy — S drug treatment that interferes with the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce. Chemotherapy may be used alone or with other therapy.
- Radiation therapy — A treatment using high-energy rays (radiation) from a specialized machine to damage or kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.