Medical Q&As

Testicular lumps - self examination useful?

What is the procedure for self-examination of the testicles with a view to early detection of cancer?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following procedure for testicular self-examination: 1. Examine your testicles during or after a warm shower when the testicles drop down and the scrotum is relaxed. 2.Examine each testicle with a gentle, firm rolling motion of the testes held between the fingers and thumbs of both hands. 3. Feel for any irregularity on the surface of the testes. Also feel for hardness or swelling, or a difference in size between the two testes. 4. The epididymis is an appendage that can normally be felt along the top edge of the testes toward the back. 5. Report any unusual lump, firmness or swelling to your clinician immediately. Having given you this information I hasten to add that there is very little evidence to justify the promotion of testicular self-examination. Some epidemiologists have argued that the promotion of self-examination simply generates a large cohort of worried men who cannot distinguish between the various diverse innocent swellings in the scrotum. Also, there is no evidence that early detection of testicular lumps that prove to be malignant results in increased life expectancy.