Checking your testicals
Why should I check my testicles?
You should check your testicles regularly to make sure you are aware of how they normally feel. This means that you will be able to notice any unusual changes that might happen. It can help you notice any changes or lumps that might be testicular cancer.
What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is rare and can be treated. With around 100 cases each year, however, it is the most common cancer in young men aged between 15 and 34 in Ireland, and this number is increasing steadily. If you have had an undescended testicle(s) – where the testicle(s) fail(s) to move down into the scrotum after birth – your risk of testicular cancer is significantly higher. You also have a higher risk if your father or brother(s) have had testicular cancer. You should check your testicles for any changes about once a month, while in the bath or shower.
How do I check?
Checking your testicles is straightforward and doesn’t take long so make sure to check them regularly. It is best to do it once a month, while in the bath or shower.
- Cradle your scrotum in both hands and use your fingers and thumbs to examine and compare your testicles.
- Testicles should feel smooth with no lumps, swellings or hardness present.
- Small differences in size are normal.
- It is normal for one testicle to be lower than the other (this is just nature’s way of allowing you to cross your legs without discomfort).
- Gently feel each testicle, one at a time. At the top and back of each testicle, there is a soft rubbery tube which carries sperm to the penis. This is called the epididymis.
- It is normal for the epididymis to be tender and wobble.
- Lumps tend to be firmly fixed to the testicle.
If you notice something unusual...
- You should see your doctor if:
- you can feel a small lump or swelling in either testicle
- you notice any hardening of the testicle(s)
- you can feel a sensation of dragging or heaviness in your scrotum
- you experience dull aches in the groin
- you notice any smelly pus or blood in your semen.
Most lumps aren’t cancer. But don’t ignore a lump – let your doctor decide whether or not you need further tests.