Testicle self-examination

In this video Dr Chris shows you how to check your testicles for any possible signs of growths or other symptoms.

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How to perform a testicular self examination

While testicular cancer is still rare, with only 2,000 cases per year in the UK, 96% of patients are successful in beating the disease. There are few facts that explain what causes testicular cancer, but it is widely known that early detection through self-exam is the root of an incredible survival rate. Doctors recommend that men should perform monthly self-exams beginning at age 15. Nearly half of all testicular cancer cases occur in men under the age of 35.

Though this cancer has a better outlook than most, without proper technique for self-examination a tumor may go unnoticed. The cancerous tumors that grow in the testicle are the target; they will feel like small painless lumps or nodes. Often, a patient who does not regularly inspect will overlook these lumps. By performing this monthly task at an early age and onward, it is easier to recognize the difference between normal and abnormal conditions.

It is important to test the entire area for each testicle carefully; this will reduce the risk of overlooking a tumor. Follow the demonstration performed by Dr Steele. Begin by holding the penis out of the way in order to visually examine each testicle separately. Gently roll each between the thumbs and fingers to feel every area. It is best to do the exam after a bath or shower when the skin is relaxed around the testicles.

During the process, you will be searching for lumps and irregularities in the testicles. Other symptoms, beyond lumps, can indicate testicular cancer as well. They include:
  • A pulling sensation or heaviness in the scrotum
  • An ache in the groin or lower abdomen
  • A collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • An intermittent pain in the testicles
It is worthy to note that regular conditions of the testicles may sometimes feel like tumors. For instance, one testicle may normally be larger than other. Also, it is perfectly normal to feel a firm tube like structure at the back of the scrotum that stores sperm (this is the epididymis).

The monthly exams will show what is normal, and what could potentially be cancer. If irregular lumps appear, or one of the symptoms named above is experienced, contact your GP right away. Testicular cancer is readily cured when it is identified early.

Helpful Links for Testicular Cancer and Self-Exams
American Cancer Society
Association for International Cancer Research

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