Although much is written and said about women doing breast examinations to detect cancer at an early stage, little is said regarding men. Frequent self-examination of the testicles, beginning in the teenage years, is an ideal way to identify testicular cancer at an early state. Many forms of this cancer may be curable and, therefore, it is optimal to identify the disease early.
Causes of Testicular Self-examination
In order to optimize testicular self-examination, you should stand in front of a mirror. On initial inspection, check for any swelling on the scrotal skin. Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. Gentle motions of the testicles should not lead to any pain. Asymmetry of the testicles is common, so don't be alarmed if one testicle seems slightly larger than the other, itís normal. Find the epididymis. This is a tube like structure behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm. Once you become familiar with this structure, you won't mistake it for a suspicious lump. Lumps on the epididymis are not cancerous. Cancerous lumps usually are found on the sides of the testicle but can also show up on the front of the testicle.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Self-examination
If you find a lump on your testicle, see a doctor. Although it is okay to have a family practitioner or internist evaluate the situation, it might be best to see an expert, a urologist, right away. Lumps in the testicle do not always represent cancer. The can occur from various infections. In either case, however, they require treatment. Delaying diagnosis and treatment may allow cancers to spread and infections to worsen. Waiting and hoping will not fix anything. At times, you may feel free floating lumps in the scrotum that are not attached in any way to a testicle. They are not testicular cancer. When in doubt, get it checked out.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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