By María Rodríguez Ramírez (biologist specialized in clinical & biomedical laboratory).
Last Update: 12/23/2014

Testicular cancer is the one that affects the most male population between 15 and 35 years, and it’s characterised by its quick evolution and transmission to other organs.

Some men tend to visit the doctor because they notice some typical symptoms, such as the apparition of one bulge in the testicle that is not painful, or the stretching or swelling of the testicle area.

However, in many cases there are no symptoms, or these can be confused with other non-cancerous pathologies, which makes that the tumour is not discovered until it’s in an advanced stage.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Prevention of testicular cancer

Most of the doctors agree that carrying out an examination of the testicles is a preventive measure to detect the presence of cancer in an early stage.

In fact, many recommend that this examinations should be carried out at least once a month after puberty, especially if there are risk factors that could augment the likelihood of suffering from testicular cancer, such as a previous tumours in the germinal testicle cells, cryptorchidism, or family history.

It’s an easy examination that lasts maximum a couple of minutes, and that allows you to detect bulges or protuberances in the scrotum. The best moment to carry it out is standing, during or after the shower, when the prepuce is soft.

How to perform a testicular examination?

  • The scrotal bag must be palpated to locate the testicles.
  • Once they have been located, they must be closely inspected, first one and then the other. All the surface must be palpated by pressing it softly with the thumb, forefinger and middle finger in search for bulges, changes in size or areas that are harder than the others.
  • After that, the penis must be examined. The prepuce must be taken aback, in order to be able to see the glans. The skin must be shiny and smooth, without cracks or spots. The line of the base of the glans must be clean.
  • Take a look at the hole of the urethra: there mustn’t be any reddening, neither spots or wounds. The surface of the penis must be palpated in search for protuberances or painful areas.

Things to consider

The consistency of the testicles must be taken into account. It must be firm without being rigid, and it’s normal that one testicle is a bit bigger than the other and that they are not located at the same height.

Furthermore, testicles have blood vessels and other structures, such as the epididymis, that can be felt as small protuberances located in the middle or superior area.

Carrying out the examinations allows every person to be aware of their anatomy, which means that any posterior alteration will alert them and make them consult the doctor.

The examination must be performed with two or three fingers and palpate bulges or irregularities. The experts recommend performing an examination every month to detect anomalies. If bulges or any alteration are observed during the examination, the doctor – the urologist – must be consulted, so that he can examine the genital area.

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Authors and contributors

 María Rodríguez Ramírez
Biologist specialized in Clinical & Biomedical Laboratory
Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Postgraduate Degree in Clinical & Biomedical Laboratory by the University of Valencia (UV). Writer of scientific contents from the field of Biology and Human Reproduction. More information
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