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A testicular self-exam is an examination that you do on your testicles. It is a way for you to notice any changes, lumps, or abnormalities in your testicles. These changes may be a sign of testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society does not make a recommendation about regular testicular self-exams for all men. However, many doctors do recommend that men after puberty do monthly self-exams. Talk with you doctor about the risks and benefits of monthly self-exams. It is especially important to talk with your doctor if you are at high risk for testicular cancer.

Factors that can increase your risk for testicular cancer include:

If your doctor recommends doing monthly self-exams, follow the steps below.

Steps for a Testicular Self-exam
  1. To make it easier to remember, select some specific day (such as the first day of the month) when you will routinely perform this exam.
  2. It is easier to do the exam while standing up after a warm bath or shower. The warmth makes the skin of the scrotum more soft and relaxed, so it is easier to examine the testicular surface underneath it.
  3. \How To\Images\NEW ONES_MOVE LATER\How To Perform a Testicular Exam\JPG\Testicular.jpg
    Take extra time on your first self-exam to find out how your testicles feel normally. For example, the back surface contains the epididymis, which stores sperm from the testicles. It feels like a small bump on the side of the testis, which might be mistaken for an abnormal growth if you are unaware of the area.
  4. How To Perform a Testicular Exam\JPG\Testicular_6.jpg
    Hold each testis in your hand, feeling whether its size or weight have changed since your last self-exam.
  5. Look at your testes in the mirror to see if there are any changes.
  6. Hold an individual testis in both hands and roll it slowly with the thumb and fingers of your hand, feeling for small lumps or areas of soreness. The most common first finding of testicular cancer is a small, firm lump attached to the testis.

If you notice any changes, lumps, or other abnormalities, see your doctor right away.

In addition, if you feel aching in the lower abdomen or groin, or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, tell your doctor. This may be a warning sign of cancer.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

American Urological Association
http://www.auanet.org

National Cancer Institute
http://cancer.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References:

Goldenring JM. Equal time for men: teaching testicular self-examination [editorial]. J Adolesc Health Care. 1986;7:273.

Rovito MJ, Gordon TF, Bass SB, et at. Perceptions of testicular cancer and testicular self-examination among college men: a report on intention, vulnerability, and promotional material preferences. Am J Mens Health. 2011;5(6):500-507.

Seminoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated January 3, 2013. Accessed January 29, 2013.

Shaw J. Diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77(4):469-474.

Testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003142-pdf.pdf. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed on January 29, 2013.

Zoltick BH. Shedding light on testicular cancer. Nurse Pract. 2011;36(7):32-39.



Last reviewed January 2013 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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