Testicular Cancer

What is Testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer most commonly occurs in men aged 15 to 40 and is a common tumor seen in men under 40. If detected and treated in its early stages, testicular cancer is nearly 100% curable. But too often the cancerous lumps are not discovered until the tumor is in an advanced stage. A monthly testicular self-exam can help detect lumps early in their most treatable stages.

The cause of testicular cancer is unknown, but it most often occurs in the testes' sperm-producing cells. Early symptoms include swelling or pain in the testicle and sometimes pain or discomfort.

Risk Factors

  • White male between the ages of 15 and 40
  • Undescended or late-descended testes
  • Family history of testicular cancer

How to Do a Testicular Self-Examination

Any male 15 or older should practice regular testicular self-exam. The test takes only a few minutes and is easy to do. Most lumps are not cancer, but any lump should be immediately checked by a physician.

Testicular self-examination (TSE) is best performed after a warm bath or shower. Heat relaxes the scrotum, making it easier to spot anything abnormal. The National Cancer Institute recommends following these steps:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror. Check for any swelling on the scrotum skin.
  2. Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. Don't be alarmed if one testicle seems slightly larger than the other. That is normal.
  3. Find the epididymis, the soft, tubelike structure behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm. If you are familiar with this structure, you won't mistake it for a suspicious lump.
  4. If you find a lump, see a doctor right away. 

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