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Student Health Services

Testicular Self Exam

Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in men ages 15-34. Beginning at age 15, you should examine your testicles monthly and continue the process through your 30s. A testicular self-examination (TSE) is important since testicular cancer can often be asymptomatic (there may be no symptoms to indicate a medical problem). However, there may be a dull pain in the lower abdomen and a feeling of heaviness and dragging. A monthly examination will allow you to become familiar with the size and feel of your testicles so any abnormality, such as a lump, can be brought to your doctor's attention.

If detected early, testicular cancer is one of the most easily cured.

How to do a TSE

The best time to check yourself is in the shower or after a warm bath. Fingers glide over soapy skin making it easier to concentrate on the texture underneath. The heat causes the skin to relax, making the exam easier.

  1. Examine each testicle gently with both hands. The index and middle fingers should be placed underneath the testicle while the thumbs are placed on the top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumb and fingers. One testicle may be larger than the other. This is normal.
  2. The epididymis is a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports the sperm. Do not confuse the epididymis with an abnormal lump. Now repeat the exam on the other side.
  3. Feel for any abnormal lumps about the size of a pea on the front or the side of the testicle. These lumps are usually painless.

What are the symptoms?
In early stages testicular cancer may be symptomless. When symptoms do occur they include:

  • Lump on the testicle
  • Slight enlargement of one of the testes
  • Heavy sensation in testicles or groin

If you find any hard lumps or nodules, see your doctor promptly.