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Testicular Self-Exam (cont.)

How to Do a Testicular Self-Examination

The best time to examine testicles is during or after a shower or bath. The warm water allows the scrotum to relax and the testicles to drop down. The left testicle normally hangs a bit lower than the right. It is common for one testicle to be larger than the other one.

Young men should examine themselves once a month. More frequent exams actually may result in missing a slowly changing lump.

How to conduct a testicular self-exam

  • Support each testicle with one hand and examine it with the other.
  • Gently roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers. Testicles should feel firm and smooth, about the consistency of a hard-boiled egg without the shell.
  • The epididymis is a ropelike structure attached to the back of the testis. This structure is not an abnormal lump
  • Feel for firm masses, lumps, or nodules in the testicle. In cancer, these lumps are usually painless.
  • Become familiar with normal size, shape, and weight of each testicle and epididymis. This will help you recognize a change from one self-examination to the next, if a change should occur.

When to Call the Doctor as a Result of a Testicular Self Exam

If you find a lump, contact a doctor to set up an appointment for evaluation. In addition to cancer, there are other causes of abnormal lumps. The doctor should examine you to make the correct determination of the cause. The doctor can instruct you on the correct way to do a testicular self-examination.

Testicular Cancer Diagnosis

If a suspicious lump exists, the physician may order tests to assist in making the diagnosis.


  • Testicular ultrasound is an excellent way to evaluate lumps in the testicle. With ultrasound, the technician moves a wand over the area. Sound waves echo to form an image on a computer screen. This procedure is noninvasive and painless.
  • In addition, when a collection of fluid or blood exists around the testicle, it may be difficult to feel a mass or lump. Ultrasound can overcome this barrier and give an accurate image of the testicle.

Blood tests

  • Blood tests for serum markers are often elevated in testicular cancer.
  • These markers include alpha-feto-protein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/20/2017
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