Physicians routinely examine the testicles (testes) during physical examinations; however, because finding testicular tumors early increases the chances of curing the diseases, monthly testicular self-examinations are recommended after puberty. These self-exams are especiall important for men at increased risk for testicular cancer.
The best time to perform a testicular self-exam is during or following a warm bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Examine each testicle gently with both hands, by placing the index and middle fingers underneath the testicle and the thumbs on top and rolling the testicle between the thumbs and fingers.
One testicle may feel larger than the other. This is normal. The epididymis, which is a cord-like structure that stores and transports sperm, often can be felt on the top and back of the testicle. This structure should not be confused with an abnormal lump.
Regular testicular self-exams can help men become familiar with their testes and make it easier to find an abnormal lump. Contact your health care provider immediately if you find an abnormal lump in the testicles. Your physican will perform tests to determine if the lump is caused by an infection, by a testicular tumor, or by another condition.