LEARN SELF-EXAMINATION FOR TESTICULAR PROBLEMS
We hear all the time that women should check for lumps in their breasts, but it isn’t often that we hear how important it is for men to check for lumps or abnormalities in their testicles.
Cancer of the testicles is the most common cancer in young men (15 to 34 years old). A man is more likely to get testicular cancer if any of the following are true about him:
• He has a father or brother who has or has had testicular cancer
• He has a testicle that did not drop down into the scrotum (called an undescended testicle). This applies even if surgery was done to remove the testicle or bring it down
• He has small testicles or testicles that aren’t shaped normally
• Has Klinefelter’s syndrome (a genetic condition where male infants are born with an extra X chromosome)
Because there isn’t always pain attached to cancer of the testicles in the initial stages, it’s important to know what some of the signs are:
• A hard, painless lump on the testicle (this is the most common sign)
• Pain or a dull ache in the scrotum
• A scrotum that feels heavy or swollen
• Bigger or more tender “breasts”
Testicular cancer is very treatable if it’s found early. Your doctor can check your testicles during an exam, but a self-exam is another good way to check for testicular cancer. Here’s how:
• Do the exam during or right after a shower or a bath as the warm water relaxes the skin on your scrotum and makes the exam easier.
• Check your testicles one at a time. Use one or both hands.
• Cup your scrotum with one hand to see if there is any change from the way it feels normally.
• Place your index and middle fingers under one testicle with your thumb on top.
• Gently roll the testicle between your thumb and fingers.
• Feel for any lumps in or on the side of the testicle. Repeat with the other testicle.
• Feel along the epididymis (a soft, tube-like, comma-shaped structure behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm) for swelling.
It’s normal for one testicle to be a little bit bigger than the other. The testicles should be smooth and firm. If you feel any bumps or lumps, see your doctor immediately
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