How to check for testicular cancer
Regularly checking your testicles from puberty can help find a testicular cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat.
From puberty onwards, it is important to check your testicles regularly. Testicular cancer is usually always cured but it is easier to treat when it is diagnosed early.
Checking for testicular cancer is sometimes called testicular self-examination. Doing this regularly means you soon get to know what feels normal for you. A normal testicle should feel smooth and firm, but not hard.
Hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand. Use your fingers and thumb to examine each testicle. You should feel for:
- lumps or swellings
- anything unusual
- differences between your testicles.
It is normal for the testicles to be slightly different in size. It is also normal for one to hang lower than the other.
The epididymis (tube that carries sperm) is behind the top of each testicle. It feels like a soft, coiled tube. It is common to get harmless cysts or benign lumps in the epididymis. Treatment for these may vary.
Other conditions can cause lumps or swellings, and most lumps are not cancer. But it is important you get your doctor to check anything unusual as soon as possible.
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The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump in a testicle. There may also be other symptoms.
- a swelling or a lump in a testicle, which is usually painless, but may suddenly get bigger and become painful
- a dull ache or pain, or feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our testicular cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
European Association of Urology. Guidelines on Cancer. 2016. Available from: www.baus.org.uk/_userfiles/pages/files/professionals/sections/oncology/EAU2015-Testicular-Cancer.pdf (accessed August 2018)
European Society for Medical Oncology, eUpdate. Testicular Seminoma and Non-Seminoma Treatment Recommendations. June 2017. Available from: www.esmo.org/Guidelines/Genitourinary-Cancers/Testicular-Seminoma-and-Non-Seminoma/eUpdate-Treatment-Recommendation (accessed August 2018).
Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, Management of adult testicular germ cell tumours. Available from: www.sign.ac.uk/sign-124-management-of-adult-testicular-germ-cell-tumours.html (accessed August 2018).
UpToDate. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging of testicular germ cell tumors. January 2018. Available from: www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-diagnosis-and-staging-of-testicular-germ-cell-tumors (accessed August 2018).
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