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Testicular Self-Examination

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About

A testicular self-examination (TSE) helps in detecting cancer of the testicles. Though testicular cancer is rare, overall it is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35. Early detection and treatment facilitates almost 100 % cure. An untreated testicular cancer spreads to the lymph nodes and lungs. Tumours are mostly confined to one side, but 2-3% of the cases present with bilateral tumours. Doctors recommend monthly self-examination of the testicles.

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How to Do a Testicular Self-Examination

When to perform a TSE?

The best time to examine testicles is during or after a shower or bath. The warmth of water lets the scrotum to relax and the testicles will drop down. It is thus easier to examine.

How frequent should TSE be done?

Doctors recommend monthly self-examination of the testicles. More frequent exams have been suggested to result in missing a slowly changing lump or a mass.

How to conduct the test?

Support each testicle with one hand. Use the other hand to examine. Examine one testicle at a time. It is important that one becomes familiar with normal size, shape, and weight of each testicle and epididymis (described later). Only then would one be able to detect any changes in the normal structure.

Gently roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers. The consistency of a normal testicle is that of a hard-boiled egg without the shell, i.e. firm and smooth.

Do not mistake the epididymis for an abnormal lump. The epididymis is a rope like structure and is attached to the back of the testis.

Feel for firm masses, lumps, or nodules in the testicle.

FAQs

1. When should I call a doctor?

A consultation with your doctor, preferably a Surgeon, is mandatory if you find a lump. In cancer, lumps may be painless.

2. My testicles are no at the same levels. Is it abnormal?

No. The left testicle normally hangs a bit lower than the right. One testicle may also be larger than the other.

3. Should I do a Testicular Self Examination every time I take a shower?

No. Testicular Self Examination has to be performed only once in a month. More frequent exams have been suggested to result in missing a slowly changing lump or a mass.
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