A testicular exam is when you check for any abnormalities in the testicles based on their appearance and feel.
Testicular exams are an essential part of a physical exam for all males, ranging from babies to grown men.
In addition, regular testicular self-exams can help you be aware of changes that may occur in your testicles and can alert you to potential issues such as testicular cancer.
If you have questions regarding your testicles, a testicular self-examination, or a testicular cancer diagnosis, schedule a consultation with the team at Urology of Greater Atlanta.
Our expert urologists provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment, including testicular prosthesis procedures. Call or book an appointment now.
Why Should I get a Testicular Exam?
A testicular self-examination can help to detect testicular cancer at an early stage. In many cases, testicular cancer is found during a self-exam as a swollen testicle or a suspicious lump in the scrotum.
Early detection of testicular cancer is crucial to stop cancer from spreading throughout the body.
How to Perform a Testicular Self-Examination
Many doctors recommend that men examine their testicles on a monthly basis after puberty. A testicular self-exam is best performed while standing after a bath or shower when the scrotal skin sac is relaxed.
How to perform a testicular self-exam:
- Hold your penis out of the way and separately examine each testicle gently.
- Gently roll your testicle between your thumb and fingers.
- Look for any changes in the shape, size, and consistency of your testicles and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses).
When routinely conducting testicular self-exams, it is important to know what is normal and what is abnormal. For example, it is normal for one testicle to hang lower than the other testicle. It is also normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.
When conducting a self-exam, men should be aware that each testicle has an epididymis (a small coiled tube on the back of the testes). This can feel like a small bump on the testis.
A normal testicle also contains tubes that carry sperm, blood vessels, and other supporting tissues. These can often be confused with abnormal lumps.
When to See a Doctor
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute advise men to see a doctor right away if they find an abnormal lump in their testicles.
At your appointment, your doctor will conduct a complete physical exam of your genitals, including your testicles, scrotum, and penis.
Your doctor will check these areas for swelling, lumps, and shrinkage. He may even conduct a testicular cancer screening.
How is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
Testicular cancer is often detected as a painless lump in the testicle. Testicular cancer is rare but most commonly occurs in men younger than age 35. When testicular cancer is found early, it is more likely to be cured.
If your doctor finds an abnormal lump in either of your testicles, he may order several different diagnostic tests to determine whether or not you have testicular cancer.
The following are some of the tests used to diagnose testicular cancer:
- X-ray of the spine
- MRI of the spine
- CT scan of the spine
- Blood test
If you have concerns regarding your testicles or a testicular self-exam or would like to schedule a testicular cancer screening, then make an appointment to speak to one of the urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta. Call or book an appointment now.