A testicular self-exam is a vital part of every man’s ongoing health and wellness, as important as a good diet and proper exercise. Ideally, the exam should be done monthly – and becomes even more important if any of these risk factors are present:
- Family history of testicular cancer
- Previous testicular tumor
- Undescended testicle
To do the test properly:
- Do it during or right after a shower so that the scrotal skin is warm and relaxed. It’s best to do the test while standing.
- Gently feel your scrotal sac to locate a testicle.
- Firmly but gently roll the testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to examine the entire surface.
- Repeat the procedure with the other testicle. Each testicle should feel firm, but not rock hard. One testicle may or may not be lower or slightly larger than the other.
Be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You find a small hard lump (like a pea) – it could be an early sign of testicular cancer. Additional tests will be needed to make a diagnosis.
- You have an enlarged testicle
- You can’t find one or both testicles — the testicles may not have descended properly in the scrotum
- There is a soft collection of thin tubes above the testicle — it may be a collection of dilated veins
- There is pain or swelling in the scrotum — it may be an infection or a fluid-filled sac causing blockage of blood flow to the area