However, if a man has no risk factors or symptoms, experts do not know if doing testicular self-exam lowers the chance of dying from this cancer.
Each testicle should feel firm, but not rock hard. One testicle may be lower or slightly larger than the other.
Talk to your provider if you have questions.
What Abnormal Results Mean
If you find a small, hard lump (like a pea), have an enlarged testicle, or notice any other differences that do not seem normal, see your provider right away.
Call your provider if:
You cannot find one or both testicles. The testicles may not have descended properly in the scrotum.
There is a soft collection of thin tubes above the testicle. This may be a collection of widened veins (varicocele).
You have pain or swelling in the scrotum. This may be an infection or a fluid-filled sac (hydrocele) causing a blockage of blood flow to the area.
Sudden, severe (acute) pain in the scrotum or testicle that lasts for more than a few minutes is an emergency. If you have this type of pain, seek medical attention right away.
A lump in the testicle is often the first sign of testicular cancer. If you find a lump, see a provider right away. Most testicular cancers are very treatable. Keep in mind that some cases of testicular cancer do not show symptoms until they reach an advanced stage.
There are no risks with this self-exam.
American Cancer Society. Testicular self-exam. Last revised January 20, 2015. Available at: www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/moreinformation/doihavetesticularcancer/do-i-have-testicular-cancer-self-exam. Accessed October 2, 2015.
Friedlander TW, Ryan CJ, Small EJ, Torti F. Testicular cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 86.
National Cancer Institute: Testicular Cancer Screening (PDQ). Bethesda, MD. Date last modified: July 19, 2012. Available at: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/testicular/Patient/page3. Accessed October 2, 2015.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for testicular cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:483-6. PMID: 21464350 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21464350.
Jennifer Sobol, DO, Urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.