Testicular Self-Exam–How the Test is Performed
Testicular self-examination is an examination of the testicles. The testicles (also called the testes) are the male reproductive organs that produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. They are located in the scrotum under the penis.
Perform this test during or after a shower. This way, the scrotal skin is warm and relaxed. It’s best to do the test while standing.
1. Gently feel your scrotal sac to locate a testicle.
2. Firmly but gently roll the testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to examine the entire surface.
3. Repeat the procedure with the other testicle.
Why the Test is Performed
A testicular self-exam is done to check for testicular cancer. Normal testicles contain blood vessels and other structures that can make the exam confusing. Performing a self-exam monthly allows you to become familiar with your normal anatomy. Then if you notice any changes from the previous exam, you’ll know to contact your doctor.
You should perform a testicular self-exam every month if you have or have had any of the following risk factors:
1. Family history of testicular cancer
2. Previous testicular tumor
3. Undescended testicle
Each testicle should feel firm, but not rock hard. One testicle may or may not be lower or slightly larger than the other.
Always ask your doctor if you have any doubts or questions.Sudden, severe (acute) pain in the scrotum or testicle is an emergency. If you experience such pain, seek immediate medical attention.
Rew L. Development of the self-efficacy for testicular self-examination scale. J Men’s Health Gend. March 2005;2(1):59-63.
Information from your family doctor. Testicular cancer. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(3):613-614.