Checking for Testicular Cancer

A testicular self-exam is a common way to perform a testicular cancer check. It is recommended that men between the ages of 15 and 35 do a testicular self-exam each month to check for signs of disease. If you find anything while checking for cancer, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor right away.

Checking for Testicular Cancer: An Introduction

In most cases, testicular cancer is first detected by the patient, either unintentionally or by self-examination. In other cases, the disease is discovered during a routine physical examination. Between regular checkups, looking for symptoms of testicular cancer is important. Men should talk with their doctor if they notice anything unusual about the testicles or if they experience possible symptoms.
(Click Testicular Cancer Symptoms for more information.)

How Your Doctor Checks for Testicular Cancer

When the doctor is performing a testicular cancer check, he or she will perform a physical exam to examine:
  • General signs of health
  • Signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual
  • The testicles for lumps, swelling, or pain.
Following the physical exam, if your doctor suspects testicular cancer, he or she may order certain exams and tests, including:
  • Blood tumor marker tests
  • An ultrasound
  • An inguinal orchiectomy with biopsy.
(Click Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer for more information about these tests.)

Performing a Testicular Self-Exam

Checking for testicular cancer on a monthly basis is a good habit for men between the ages of 15 and 35. This can be done through an easy testicular self-exam. In order to perform this examination, men should:
  • Perform it after a shower or bath.
  • Stand in front of a mirror.
  • Become familiar with the shape of each testicle.
  • Gently grab each testicle and roll it between your thumb and index/middle fingers.
  • Feel for any lumps, swelling, pain, or anything else that seems unusual. Lumps can be small. It is helpful to compare one testicle to the other.
  • Find the epididymis, which is a rope-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports sperm.
  • Repeat the rolling motion with your finger, feeling for lumps, bumps, pain, or swelling.
If you find anything while checking for testicular cancer, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor. It is important to note that other health problems can also cause these symptoms, and only a qualified healthcare provider can diagnose and treat the problem.
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