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Testicular Self-Exam (TSE)

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34. Most cases affect men under 55. It usually shows up as a painless lump in the testicle. The good news is that a simple monthly self-exam can help find trouble before it gets serious. When detected early, testicular cancer is almost 100% curable.

Illustration of checking testicles

Illustration of checking epididymis

Illustration of checking vas

Doing Your TSE

Do TSE once a month, during or after a warm shower. Spend about 3–5 minutes feeling for any lump, firm area, or change. If you do find a problem, don’t panic. Call your doctor and make an appointment.

Check the Testicles

Hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand. Roll each testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers of both hands. Feel for changes in each testicle, one at a time.

Check the Epididymis

The epididymis is a raised rim-like structure responsible for sperm storage. It runs along the top and back of each testicle and often hurts when you press on it. Gently feel each epididymis for changes. A spermatocele, which represents a cyst, can present as a painless growth near the testicle. These are noncancerous.

Check the Vas

The vas deferens is a little tube that runs up from the top of each testicle. A normal vas feels like a firm piece of cooked spaghetti. Feel for changes in the vas about each testicle.

Professional Screening

If you feel any abnormalities, tell your doctor right away. Along with your own TSE, see your doctor for regular checkups.

Online Medical Reviewer: Shapiro, Charles E, MD, FACS
Online Medical Reviewer: Shinghal, Rajesh, MD
Last Review Date: 10/26/2011
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