Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Testicular self-exams may help you find a scrotal mass early, allowing you to get prompt medical care. If you perform this exam regularly, you'll understand what "normal" feels like and be better prepared to detect any abnormality. To do a testicular self-exam, follow these steps:
- Examine your testicles once a month, especially if you've already had testicular cancer or you have a family history of testicular cancer.
- Perform the exam after a warm bath or shower. The heat from the water relaxes your scrotum, making it easier for you to check for anything unusual.
- Stand in front of a mirror. Look for any swelling on the skin of the scrotum.
- Cup your scrotum with one hand to see if it feels different from normal.
- Examine one testicle at a time using both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle while placing your thumbs on the top.
- Gently roll the testicle between the thumbs and fingers. Feel for lumps and bumps. The testicles are usually smooth, oval shaped and somewhat firm. It's normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.
- Feel along the soft, comma-shaped structure that runs above and behind the testicle (epididymis) to check for any swelling.
If you find a lump or other abnormality, call your doctor as soon as possible.
- Montgomery JS, et al. The diagnosis and management of scrotal masses. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:235.
- Wampler SM, et al. Common scrotal and testicular problems. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2010;37:613.
- Tiemstra JD, et al. Evaluation of scrotal masses. American Family Physician. 2008;78:1165.
- Trojian TH, et al. Epididymitis and orchitis: An overview. American Family Physician. 2009;79:583.
- Hagerty JA, et al. Pediatric scrotal masses. Clinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine. 2009;10:50.
- Testicular self-exam. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/moreinformation/doihavetesticularcancer/do-i-have-testicular-cancer-self-exam. Accessed May 10, 2011.