Most testicular cancers can be found at an early stage. Most of the time a lump on the testicle is the first symptom. Some doctors recommend that all men examine their testicles monthly after puberty.
The best time to do the self-exam is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.
- Hold your penis out of the way and check one testicle at a time.
- Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers.
- Look and feel for any hard lumps or smooth rounded bumps or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testicles.
It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other, and for one to hang lower than the other. You should also know that each normal testicle has a small, coiled tube (epididymis) that can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testicle. Normal testicles also have blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that carry sperm. Some men may confuse these with abnormal lumps at first. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor.
A testicle can get larger for many reasons other than cancer. Other non-cancerous problems, such as hydroceles and varicoceles, can sometimes cause swellings or lumps around a testicle. It’s easy to confuse these with a tumor. If you have any doubts, see a doctor.
If you choose to check your testicles, in time you will learn what’s normal for you and will be able to tell when something is different.
If you find something unusual or something you’re not sure about, either during a self-exam or at any other time, see a doctor right away.