Testicular Self-exam (TSE)
A testicular self-exam is an examination that you do of your testicles. It is a way for you to notice any changes, lumps, or abnormalities in your testicles.
The American Cancer Society does not make a recommendation on how often you should perform a testicular self-exam. It is best to talk with your doctor and develop a schedule that matches your health profile.
However, if you are at an increased risk for testicular cancer, it is important for you to do a testicular self-exam every month.
Factors that can increase your risk for testicular cancer include:
- Undescended testicle
- Abnormal testicular development
- Klinefelter's syndrome
- History of testicular cancer
Steps for a Testicular Self-exam
A testicular self-exam is best performed after a warm shower or bath. The heat of the water will relax the scrotum. This will make it easier to notice anything abnormal.
- Stand in front of the mirror. Check for any swelling on the scrotum.
- Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle and the thumbs on top. Roll the testicle gently between your thumb and the first two fingers. It is normal for one testicle to be larger than the other.
- Check for lumps, swelling, or a change in size or consistency of the testicle.
- Feel the epididymis, a cord-like structure, on the top and back of each testicle. The epididymis collects and carries sperm. Don't interpret this as an abnormality.
If you notice any changes, lumps, or other abnormalities, see your doctor right away.
In addition, if you feel aching in the lower abdomen or groin, or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, tell your doctor. This may be a warning sign of cancer.
American Cancer Society
American Urological Association
Lance Armstrong Foundation
BC Cancer Agency
American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org.
Goldenring, JM. Equal time for men: teaching testicular self-examination [editorial]. J Adolesc Health Care. 1986;7:273.
Goldenring, JM. A lifesaving exam for young men. Contemp Pediatr. 1992;9:63.
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/.
Last reviewed November 2007 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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