What to check for
The most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling/enlargement of the testicles. Other symptoms include an increase in the firmness of a testicle, pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles), and an unusual difference between one testicle and the other.
The best time to check your own testicles is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.
How to check
To make sure that you catch any changes, it’s really important to regularly check your testicles. It’s up to you when you do it, though most people find it easier to do in the bath or shower.
The three basic steps are:
- Hold one testicle between the thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers
- Look and feel for any hard lumps, or smooth, rounded bumps, or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testicles
- Repeat with your other testicle
It’s worth noting that “normal” testicles also have blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that carry sperm. Some men may confuse these with abnormal lumps at first. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor.
We really like the video by CheckOneTwo produced for their #FeelingNuts campaign on preventing testicular cancer (narrated by Ant and Dec).
If you’re worried
A testicle can get larger for many reasons other than cancer. You may feel testicular torsion, a serious condition and a medical emergency. It happens when blood supply to a testicle is interrupted resulting in sudden and extremely painful swelling in one testicle. But if you find a lump or swelling, or any of the above signs, get it checked out as soon as you can by your doctor.
- NHS Choices has lots of good information including the following pages:
- The Change cancer series has a great easy-read guide to testicular cancer and self-checking.
- You might find the online men’s health forums useful on Health Unlocked including men’s health, and men’s sensitive issues