Men: Examining Your Testicles May Save Your Life
A complete testicular self-exam takes just three minutes or less, and it could save your life. You should do it monthly. After a warm bath or shower, hold your scrotum, and gently roll each testicle between your thumb and your first two fingers. Feel for any firm, hard, or fixed lumps, nodules, or irregularities inside the testicle itself. Most abnormalities are found at the front side of the testicle. Also, request that your primary care physician check your testicles regularly. The American Cancer Society recommends a testicular exam every 1 - 3 years for men over age 30 and once a year for men over age 40.
Jerome P. Richie, M.D., professor of urological surgery at Harvard Medical School, maintains that men can benefit from regular testicular self-examination. "Testicular cancer is highly curable," he says. "If it's picked up early, it's easier to cure. I think testicular self-examination in men aged 15 - 34 is worthwhile. Women are comfortable with breast self-examination, and men should become equally comfortable with testicular self-examination."
Symptoms of testicle cancer
- a lump or hard nodule in the testicle itself (usually not painful, but may cause slight discomfort at times)
- enlargement of one testicle after puberty -- enlargement of the breasts and nipples (in some types of testicular cancer only)
- heavy sensation in the testicle or groin
Who's at greatest risk for testicular cancer? -- You're male (obvious)
- You're between 15 and 34 years of age -- You're Caucasian
- You've had an undescended testicle (whether or not it was surgically corrected)
- You have a family or personal history of testicular cancer (men who have had cancer in one testis are at greater risk of developing cancer in the other than men who've never had testicular cancer at all).
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