Before you self-examine your testicles, be reminded you that the testes commonly known as the testicles are two oval-shaped organs of the male reproductive system with the main function of producing and storing sperms. They are contained in a sac of skin called the scrotum. Many conditions can affect this organ such as hydrocele (when excess fluid buildup in one of the testes), testicular torsion (when the testes rotate in the scrotum and cut off blood supply), testicular cancers and many more.

Self-examining your testicles helps to check if there are any abnormalities. It guides you to know what feels normal and to be able to notice any changes that deviate from how your testes should appear normally. These changes are not always cancer and if it is cancer and you detect early through testicular self-examination, you have the best chance for a cure.

Why do I need to self-examine my testicles?

  • Abnormalities observed are easier to treat if detected early.
  • Most cases of testicular cancer can be easily observed early by you not a physician.
  • It’s possible you don’t have symptoms until the abnormality is more advanced.
  • If you don’t detect the disease early, it can lead to more complications.

How often can I self-examine my testicles?

Testicular self-examination (TSE) is to be performed once a month. When you do a TSE monthly, it gets you familiarized with your testicles and you can easily notice any change. The test is neither difficult nor time-consuming.

How do I self-examine my testicles?

A convenient time is usually after a warm bath or showers when your scrotum is relaxed. If possible, stand in front of a mirror.

  • Do not be alarmed if one testicle seems slightly larger than the other, that’s normal. It is normal that one of your testicles will hang lower than the other.
  • Ensure you use both hands to palpate your testes. The normal testicle feels uniform and smooth in consistency.
  • With your index & middle fingers under the testes and the thumb on top, roll the testis gently in a horizontal plane between the thumb & fingers.
  • Examine and feel for the presence of a lump
  • Use the same procedure and palpate upward along the testis.
  • Locate and palpate the epididymis (a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicles that stores and transport sperm. Also, palpate the spermatic cord.
  • The same examination should be repeated for the other testis, spermatic cord, and the epididymis. Do not forget that it is normal that one testis is larger than the other.
  • If you find any evidence of a small, pea-like lump or if the testis is swollen (possibly from an infection, consult your physician).
  • Take note of changes in size over time. Testicular cancer may manifest as a painless mass.
  • Pay attention to any feeling of heaviness or soreness.

What should I do if I detect something?

Contact your physician as soon as you can. You have no reason to feel embarrassed to discuss your findings on your testicles with your doctor for appropriate medical advice. Your conversation with your physician could save your life.

What other health condition could a testicular lump suggest?

Not all testicular masses are cancerous. Some testicular conditions can cause discomfort, such as

  • Infection
  • Varicocele
  • Cysts
  • Injury
  • Hydrocele.

For more information if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact eDokita (a telemedicine platform) for appropriate medical advice. Our physicians are available 24/7 to attend to your health care needs.