Starting around age 15, all folks with penises should get to know how their testicles look and feel so that they are able to detect any changes that might require medical follow-up. Testicular self-exams are an effective way for a person to get to know their body and to detect any changes that might signal testicular cancer at an early—and very curable—stage. Although rare, testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in males aged 15-29. It is also one of the most curable cancers.
People should ensure they have regular medical check-ups with a physician (once a year) and follow-up with a medical professional if they notice any changes or any of the signs listed, too.
A person can do a TSE in front of a mirror after a warm shower or bath, when the muscles of the scrotum are relaxed. This makes it easier to feel any lumps, growths, or tenderness.
Examine each testicle separately using both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. Find the epididymis—the soft, tube-like structure behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm. If a person is familiar with this structure, they won’t mistake it for a suspicious lump.
Cancerous lumps usually are found on the sides of the testicle but can also show up on the front. A person doesn’t need to be alarmed if one testicle seems slightly larger than the other, either—that’s normal! If a lump is found on either testicle, a person should consult a doctor.