What you can expect

To do a testicular self-exam, stand unclothed in front of a mirror. Then:

  • Look for swelling. Hold your penis out of the way and examine the skin of the scrotum.
  • Examine each testicle. Using both hands, place your index and middle fingers under the testicle and your thumbs on top.
  • Gently roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers. Look and feel for any changes to your testicle. These could include hard lumps, smooth rounded bumps, or new changes in the size, shape or consistency of the testicle.

While you're doing the testicular self-exam, you might notice a few things about your testicles, such as bumps on the skin of your scrotum, that seem unusual but aren't signs of cancer. Ingrown hairs, a rash or other skin problems can cause bumps on the skin.

You might also feel a soft, ropy cord, which is a normal part of the scrotum called the epididymis. It leads upward from the top of the back part of each testicle.

Nov. 14, 2017
  1. Lin KW. Screening for testicular cancer. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 13, 2017.
  2. Testicular cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/testicular/HealthProfessional. Accessed Oct. 13, 2017.
  3. Can testicular cancer be found early? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html. Accessed Oct. 13, 2017.
  4. Final evidence review. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/final-evidence-review96/testicular-cancer-screening. Accessed Oct. 13, 2017.