How to Perform a Testicular Self-Exam
Performing self-exams for breast cancer is known to increase the chances of detecting breast cancer early, but many people don’t realize that you can also perform a testicular self-exam (TSE). Testicular cancer can often be found at an early stage, but many men don’t realize there is an issue until the cancer has spread to other areas. At this point it becomes more difficult to treat, so early detection is extremely important.
You should be having testicular exams as a part of your routine check-up, but performing regular self-exams can cover the time between doctor visits. Testicular self-exams are especially important for men with increased risk factors, such as:
- Family history of testicular cancer
- Personal history of testicular cancer
- An undescended testicle
Performing a Testicular Self-Exam
Once you’ve decided you want to perform a self-exam, plan to do so during or after a shower. That way your scrotum skin will be relaxed and it will be easier to recognize anything out of the ordinary.
- Keep your penis out of the way and examine one testicle at a time.
- Use your thumbs and fingers on both hands to hold the testicle. Then, gently roll it between your fingers.
- Look out for any hard lumps or smooth, rounded bumps. Also, keep an eye on any changes in the shape, consistency, and size of your testicles.
If one testicle is slightly larger than the other or one hangs lower than the other, this is normal. Additionally, if you feel a small bump on the upper or middle outer side, this is likely the epididymis. If you do feel a lump, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. In fact, you could be feeling blood vessels, tubes, or tissue.
However, it is important to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have after performing your TSE. Remember that early detection is key and that testicular cancer can be more easily treated when found in the beginning stages.