Testicular Self-Exam: 6 Signs of Testicular Cancer

Just as women are encouraged to perform self-examination of their breasts, men are encouraged to perform monthly examinations of their testes to detect testicular cancer early and increase their chances of survival.

Testicular cancer (cancer of the testes) is the most common form of cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 34. Each year, about 9,000 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in the U.S. Although the cause of testicular cancer is not known, it most commonly affects younger men, and having an undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) or other congenital abnormalities of the testicles can increase the risk of developing this tumor. Testicular cancer also is more common in white men than in African-American men. Fortunately, testicular cancer has a very high probability of cure when diagnosed and treated in its early stages.

Most cases of testicular cancer are found by men themselves. The symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  1. a painless lump or swelling in a testicle
  2. pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  3. any enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
  4. a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  5. a dull ache in the lower abdomen, back, or groin
  6. a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum

Performing monthly testicular self-exams is recommended for all males after reaching puberty. The best time to perform the self-exam is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. To perform the exam, men should examine each testicle separately by rolling it gently between the thumb and fingers. They should look and feel for hard lumps or masses or changes in size, shape, or consistency of the testes.

While the previously described signs and symptoms may occur with testicular cancer, they may also be caused by several benign conditions of the testes. Men should always visit their doctor if they note changes in their testicular self-exam, have doubts about their testicular self-exam, or have any of the symptoms of testicular cancer.

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Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology

REFERENCE: : eMedicine.com. Testicular Cancer.