An Essential Cancer Self-Check for Men

While still somewhat rare, testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for men aged 15-34. As with other cancers, early detection provides the best prognosis: This form of cancer is usually treatable, even in more advanced stages.

The American Cancer Society recommends self-checks once a month for patients who have an increased risk, which include a family history of testicular cancer, cryptorchidism or a personal history of testicular cancer.

Experts suggest that men do a self-exam regularly and have your doctor check once a year.

If you find you have problems or feel a lump or other changes in how your testicles look or feel, you should see your doctor.

A lump is generally the most common symptom, but other symptoms include:

  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum or testicle swelling
  • Scrotal heaviness

Noticing a lump or any of these symptoms doesn’t have to mean you have cancer or a similar problem. However, the American Cancer Society advises you to see a specialist right away if you notice any changes.

How to do a Testicular Self-Exam

The best time for your testicular self-exam is during or after a shower or bath when the skin is relaxed.

  • Move your penis out of the way and separately examine each testicle.
  • Hold the testicle between your fingers and thumbs with both hands and roll it slightly between your fingers.
  • Look for any nodules (smooth, rounded masses), hard lumps or any change in the shape, size or consistency of your testicles.

It’s normal for one testicle to be a bit larger than the other, or for one testicle to hang lower than the other. You should also note that every normal testicle has a small tube called the epididymis that can sometimes feel like a small bump on the middle or upper outer side of the testis.

Normal testicles also have blood vessels, along with tubes that carry sperm and supporting tissues, so some men may confuse them with lumps. If you have any concerns, you should immediately contact your doctor. He or she may order an ultrasound exam. This is a painless and easy way of finding—or ruling out–a testicular tumor.

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us at 850-610-3743, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion, so you, too, can experience the difference.