Testicular self-exams might help you find a scrotal mass early, allowing you to get prompt medical care. If you perform this exam regularly, you'll understand what "normal" feels like and be better prepared to detect abnormality. To do a testicular self-exam, follow these steps:
- Examine your testicles once a month, especially if you've had testicular cancer or you have a family history of testicular cancer.
- Perform the exam after a warm bath or shower. The heat from the water relaxes your scrotum, making it easier for you to check.
- Stand in front of a mirror. Look for swelling on the skin of the scrotum.
- Cup your scrotum with one hand to see if it feels different from normal.
- Examine one testicle at a time using both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle; place your thumbs on top.
- Gently roll the testicle between the thumbs and fingers to feel for lumps. The testicles are usually smooth, oval shaped and somewhat firm. It's normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.
- Feel along the soft, comma-shaped structure that runs above and behind the testicle (epididymis) to check for swelling.
If you find a lump or other abnormality, call your doctor as soon as possible.
June 19, 2014
- Eyre RC. Evaluation of nonacute scrotal pathology in adult men. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/symptoms_of_genitourinary_disorders/painless_scrotal_mass.html. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Brenner JS, et al. Causes of scrotal pain in children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Eyre RC. Evaluation of acute scrotum in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- What are the risk factors for testicular cancer? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/detailedguide/testicular-cancer-risk-factors. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Testicular self-exam. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/moreinformation/doihavetesticularcancer/do-i-have-testicular-cancer-self-exam. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- How is testicular cancer treated? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/detailedguide/testicular-cancer-treating-general-treatment-info. Accessed March 20, 2014.