What is a testicular self-exam?

A testicular self-exam is a way that men can examine themselves to look for signs of cancer of the testicles. The testicles are oval-shaped sex glands in a sac of skin called the scrotum. The scrotum is located behind and below the penis. The testicles produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone.

What is testicular cancer?

Cells in the body normally divide (reproduce) only when new cells are needed. Sometimes cells will divide for no reason and without order, creating a mass of tissue called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Testicular cancer is a malignant tumor in a testicle.

Cancer cells can break from the tumor and spread to other parts of the body. This spreading is called metastasis. Cancers that have spread are considered to be at a later stage than cancers that have not spread. Later stage cancers require more aggressive treatment.

Who gets testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer happens most often in men between the ages of 20 and 35. Some men who had a physical disorder of the testicles when they were young might have a higher risk. However, cancer of the testicles is rare.

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

  • A lump in either testicle
  • An enlarged (swollen) testicle
  • Pain in the testicle
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  • A sudden gathering of fluid in the scrotum
  • Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A shrinking testicle