Testicular Self-Examination: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of how to perform a testicle self-examination

A self-examination is a way for you to check for cancer of the testicles. Although testicular cancer is rare, it is one of the most common tumours in men younger than 35.

Many testicular cancers are found during self-examination. In the early stages of testicular cancer, the lump, which may be about the size of a pea, usually is not painful. Testicular cancer, especially if treated early, is very often cured.

By doing this self-examination regularly, you can learn the normal size, shape, and weight of your testicles. This allows you to note any changes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • The examination is best done during or after a bath or shower-when the scrotum, the skin sac that holds the testicles, is relaxed.
  • Stand and place your right leg on a raised surface about chair height. Then gently feel your scrotum until you find the right testicle.
  • Roll the testicle gently but firmly between your thumb and fingers of both hands. Carefully feel the surface for lumps. Feel for any change in the size, shape, or texture of the testicle. The testicle should feel round and smooth. It is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other one.
  • Repeat this for the left side. Feel the entire surface of both testicles.
  • You may feel the epididymis, the soft tube behind each testicle. Become familiar with this structure so that you won't mistake it for a lump.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You find a lump.
  • You notice that one of your testicles is swollen or larger than it was the last time you checked.
  • You notice that a testicle has become harder or firmer.
  • You have pain in the testicles or scrotum.
  • You have a feeling of heaviness in a testicle or the scrotum.
  • You notice a change in your testicles.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You need more information about testicular self-examination.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: March 14, 2017