Why it's done

Testicular self-exams help you learn how your testicles normally look and feel. Then you're more likely to notice subtle changes.

Changes in your testicles could be a sign of a common benign condition, such as an infection or a cyst, or a less common condition, such as testicular cancer.

Who should consider regular testicular exams?

It's not clear which men should consider regular testicular self-exams. Though often promoted as a way to detect testicular cancer, testicular self-exams aren't proved to reduce the risk of dying of the disease.

Testicular cancer is a relatively uncommon type of cancer. It's also highly treatable at all stages, so finding testicular cancer early doesn't make a cure more likely.

Doctors and medical organizations differ on their recommendations for testicular self-exams. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn't recommend testicular self-exams because a benefit hasn't been proved. The American Cancer Society recommends discussing cancer-related health issues, such as testicular self-exams, with your doctor during routine checkups.

If you're concerned about your risk of testicular cancer, discuss the issue with your doctor. Together, you can decide whether regular testicular self-exams are right for you.