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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 35. 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 may 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 a TSE once a month, during or after a warm shower. Spend about 3 minutes to 5 minutes feeling for lumps, firm areas, or changes. 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, 1 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 is 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 above each testicle.

Professional Screening

If you feel any abnormalities, tell your doctor right away. In addition to doing your own TSE, you should also see your doctor for regular checkups.

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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