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Finding testicular cancer early

This page is about examining yourself for lumps or swellings in your testicles. There is information about

 

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Finding testicular cancer early

Cancers found early are the easiest to treat. Being aware of how your testicles look and feel helps you know if there is a change. If you notice a change that isn’t normal for you, talk it over with your doctor.

You don’t need to check your testicles every day or even every week. It is enough to do it from time to time. It is easiest to check them after a warm bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands. You can then use the fingers and thumb on both hands to examine your testicles.

What to look out for

Gently feel each testicle individually. Any noticeable increase in size or weight may mean that something is wrong. You should feel a soft tube at the top and back of the testicle, which is normal. The testicle itself should be smooth with no lumps or swellings. If you do find a swelling in your testicle, make an appointment and have it checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time. So if you are wondering whether a testicle is feeling normal or not you can compare it with the other.

 

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Being aware of what is normal for you

Cancers which are found early are the most easily treated. It makes sense to know how your body normally looks and feels and this includes your testicles. This will make it easier for you to notice any changes.

There is no evidence to show that checking your testicles weekly or monthly will find testicle cancer earlier. Being aware of what is normal for you and checking them from time to time is enough. A good time to check your testicles is after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotal skin is relaxed. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes.

Some men are at higher risk of testicular cancer. But there is currently no evidence to recommend any regular screening or examination for these men. It is important to know what is normal for you and see your doctor if you notice any changes.

 

What to look out for

Get to know what is normal for you so that you can notice any changes. Hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands, so that you can use the fingers and thumb on both hands to examine your testicles. Note the size and weight of the testicles. It is common to have one testicle slightly larger, or that hangs lower than the other. But any noticeable increase in size or weight may mean that something is wrong.

Gently feel each testicle individually. You should feel a soft tube at the top and back of the testicle. This is the epididymis which carries and stores sperm. It may feel slightly tender. Don't confuse it with an abnormal lump. You should be able to feel the firm, smooth tube of the spermatic cord which runs up from the epididymis.

Feel the testicle itself. It should be smooth with no lumps or swellings. It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time. So if you are wondering whether a testicle is feeling normal or not you can compare it with the other.

Remember that if you do find a swelling in your testicle, make an appointment and have it checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

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Updated: 9 September 2014