A testicular self-exam is a way for men to notice any changes, lumps, or abnormalities in their testicles. These changes may be a sign of testicular cancer. Since the benefits are not clear, many professional organizations, including the American Cancer Society do not make specific recommendations about regular testicular self-exams for all men.
In most cases, you will have a testicular exam during regular check-ups (generally every 1-3 years). Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of monthly self-exams. You may be advised to do monthy self-exams if you are considered at high risk for testicular cancer.
You may be considered high-risk if you have:
If your doctor recommends doing monthly self-exams, follow the steps below.
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
Urology Care Foundation
Goldenring JM. Equal time for men: teaching testicular self-examination [editorial]. J Adolesc Health Care. 1986;7:273.
Rovito MJ, Gordon TF, et al. Perceptions of testicular cancer and testicular self-examination among college men: A report on intention, vulnerability, and promotional material preferences. Am J Mens Health. 2011;5(6):500-507.
Management of seminoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T908524/Management-of-seminoma. Updated April 8, 2016. Accessed December 30, 2016.
Shaw J. Diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77(4):469-474.
Testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003142-pdf.pdf. Updated February 12, 2016. Accessed December 30, 2016.
Zoltick BH. Shedding light on testicular cancer. Nurse Pract. 2011;36(7):32-39.
Last reviewed December 2016 by Michael Woods, 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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