Testicular cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the testes, or testicles, at a high or uncontrolled rate. Checking for symptoms through a testicular self-exam may help to detect this disease and its symptoms at an early stage.
Learn the facts about testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is one of the most uncommon and curable forms of cancer. Less than 7,500 men in America will be diagnosed with this disease each year, and less than 400 of those diagnosed will die from this disease.
Check yourself regularly. Many doctors suggest that their patients perform a testicular self-exam on a monthly basis.
Remove your underwear so that your genitalia are exposed. You may wish to take a warm shower or bath to relax your scrotal muscles before you perform the exam.
Place your right leg on an elevated surface while standing up.
Locate your right testicle by gently feeling your scrotal sac.
Explore the surface of the testicle to check for any hard lumps by gently but firmly rolling it between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands.
Repeat the process on the left testicle.
Check the testicles for symptoms, such as hard masses or lumps, swelling or an unusual appearance. A testicle with a tumor may appear larger or heavier than an unaffected testicle.
Schedule an exam immediately with your physician if you discover any masses or lumps in either of your testicles.
Continue to perform regular self-exams, or follow your doctor's instructions for follow-up procedures if necessary.
If you suspect that you have testicular cancer after performing a testicular self-examination, make an appointment with your doctor and ask about diagnostic options for detecting this disease. Patient privacy laws prevent your doctor's office from sharing your personal information, including a diagnosis of testicular cancer, with anyone without your express written consent.
Many men diagnosed with testicular cancer who face the potential removal of 1 or both of their testicles may feel depressed or angry. Dealing with the strong emotions commonly felt when faced with a diagnosis and treatment plan may be helped by seeking the assistance and support of family or friends. There are also support groups for men with this disease (see "Resources" below).