How do I do a testicular self-exam to protect myself from testicular cancer?

We do not know how to prevent testicular cancer but the sooner it is detected and treated, the more likely it is to be cured. You can help protect yourself from testicular cancer by doing a monthly testicular self-exam so that if an abnormality develops, it can be evaluated right away. After a while, you will know how your testicles feel and will be more alert to any changes. To do a self-exam, follow these steps.

  1. Do the exam after a warm shower or bath. The warmth relaxes the skin of the scrotum, making it easier to feel for anything unusual.
  2. Use both hands to examine each testicle. Place your index and middle fingers underneath the testicle and your thumbs on top. Roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers. (It's normal for testicles to be different in size.)
  3. As you feel the testicle, you might notice a cord-like structure on top and in back of the testicle. This structure is called the epididymis. It stores and transports sperm. Do not confuse it with a lump.
  4. Feel for any lumps. Lumps can be pea-size or larger and are often painless. If you notice a lump, contact your health care provider.
  5. Although the left and right testicles are often different sizes, they should remain the same size. If you notice a change in the size of your testicles, contact your health care provider.

You should also get a physical exam once a year.

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