If you’re a man over the age of 14, a self-exam of the testicles every month could potentially save your life.
While a monthly exam may sound excessive, it’s a great way to learn the difference between what’s normal and abnormal. This ensures that if something has changed with your body you will know right away, in the curable stage, when you still have a chance to do something about it.
Though testicular cancer is rare compared to other forms of cancer, it is the most common cancer in American men ages of 15 and 34, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The good news is testicular cancer is often treatable, particularly if growths are identified early. This is why regular self-exams are so important.
Doing a testicular exam at home is best done after a warm bath or shower when the scrotum is relaxed, according to The Testicular Cancer Resource Center.
- Stand in front of a mirror and check the scrotal skin for any visible swelling.
- Next, use both of your hands to examine each testicle, then put your index and middle fingers under the testicle with your thumbs on top. Gently roll your testicles separately between your thumbs and fingers. *Note: it is normal for one testicle to appear slightly larger than the other.
- Now look for the epididymis, which is the soft, tube-like area behind the testicle. Be careful not to mistake this for a lump. Cancerous lumps usually occur on the sides of the testicle, though they can be found on the front as well.
- If you find or are unsure about any lump on your testicles make an appointment with a urologist right away. There is always a chance that the abnormality is not cancer but it’s always better to be sure. Only a doctor can make a positive diagnosis.