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Finding it early

How to examine yourself for lumps or swellings in your testicles.

Cancers are easiest to treat when they are found early. It's useful to know how your body normally looks and feels, and this includes your testicles. This makes it easier for you to notice any changes.

When to check your testicles

Check your testicles from time to time. Checking them weekly or monthly is unlikely to help you find testicular cancer earlier.

A good time to check your testicles is after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotal skin is relaxed.

What to look out for

Hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands. Use the fingers and thumbs on both hands to examine your testicles.

Size and weight

It's common to have one testicle slightly larger or hanging lower than the other. But a noticeable increase in size or weight in one testicle may mean that something is wrong.

Lumps or swellings

Gently feel each testicle individually. It should be smooth with no lumps or swellings.

Compare one testicle with the other. It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time.


You should feel a soft tube at the top and back of the testicle (the epididymis). Don't confuse it with an abnormal lump.

You should also feel the firm, smooth tube of the spermatic cord, which runs up from the epididymis.

Diagram of the testicles
When to see your doctor

You should see your doctor if you have:

  • an unusual lump or swelling in part of one testicle
  • a sharp pain in the testicle or scrotum
  • a heavy scrotum

Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer but it's important to get them checked by a doctor.

Last reviewed: 
09 Sep 2014
  • Guidelines on Testicular Cancer
    P Albers (chairman) and others
    European Association of Urology, 2012

  • Screening for testicular cancer
    D Ilic D and ML Misso
    Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 2

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