Testicular Self-Examination

The testicular self-exam (TSE) is a way for males to check their own testicles to make sure there are no unusual lumps or bumps.  Unusual lumps or bumps may be the first sign of testicular cancer.   

Although testicular cancer is rare, it is most common between the ages of 15 and 35. If it is found early, treatment is usually very successful. Males should be consistent and do a monthly exam, so that they will be more likely to notice changes in the size, shape, or firmness of the testicles.

  • A lump or nodule on a testicle
  • Slight enlargement or a change in the firmness of a testicle
  • A dull ache in the scrotum (the sac holding the testicles)
  • Examine testicles monthly during or after a warm shower or bath -- this is when the scrotum is most relaxed and easiest to examine.
  • Normal testicles feel smooth and spongy and will move easily inside the scrotum. Feel the testicles for pea-sized lumps or other irregular areas at the front and sides of the testicles. There is a tubular, ropelike structure along the back of the testicle that is normal. This is called the epididymis.
  • If you feel a hard lump on the testicle, call your doctor right away for an appointment. Do not put it off.
  • Lumps or bumps are not always cancerous, but they should be checked as soon as possible by your doctor. Testicular cancer is almost always curable if it is caught and treated early.

How to perform a testicular self-exam.

Follow these simple steps for a thorough TSE:

  • Examine one testicle at a time, repeating the process described here.
  • Use both hands to examine each testicle.
  • Hold the testicle between your fingers and thumbs.
  • Roll the testicle between the thumbs and fingers with a gentle pressure that causes no pain or discomfort.
  • Examine both testicles regularly, at least once per month.

Last Updated 12/2013