In part 1 of this post, Testicle self exam – the Male Equivalent of Breast Self Exam,we looked at the importance of men performing a self exam to detect testicle cancer, which can help save lives, even though this is among the rarer cancers.
We also spoke about who are most at risk, and who should be performing the self exam. So how is a testicular cancer self exam performed? How does one go about doing a testicle self exam?
A testicle self exam ought to be performed once a month. A testicle self exam is best performed after a hot bath or shower since the skin of the scrotum is soft and relaxed at the time.
One should be familiar with the feel, shape, size and general weight of one’s testicles, so that if there is any change or departure from the norm, this can be detected. Use both hands to gently roll first one and then the other testicle between the fingers.
Locate and understand the epididymis. This is the rope like growth at the top of each testicle as well as at the back of the testicles. This is a normal growth and not a lump or abnormality.
What to look for
Any tiny lump, on or under the skin, either in front or the side of either testicle, a lump small enough to call to mind a bit of uncooked rice, or a tiny pea, or any abnormality or new growth, even if painless.
Any heaviness or enlargement of the testicles should be looked for. Any pain in the testicle or change in the way the testicle feels also should be looked for. Blood or fluid that accumulates in the scrotum and even enlarged male breasts and nipples could be warning signs and shouldn’t be ignored.
If you detect anything that looks, appears or feels suspicious, don’t panic. Every growth, swelling, lump or seeming abnormality does not mean that one has testicular cancer. However this should be reported to a health care provider for further investigation. Even if it is not cancer, reporting it will rule it out. If it is cancer, then you will have detected it early and can hope for recovery from it.
Though a rare disease, testicular cancer is a phenomenon that is rising worldwide, making it a good reason to be vigilant against it.