Testicular examination and testicular self-examination (TSE) are
two methods to detect lumps or abnormalities of the
The two testicles, or testes,
are inside the
testicles are the male reproductive organs that
produce sperm and the male hormone
testosterone. Each testicle is about the size
and shape of a small egg. At the back of each testicle is the epididymis, a
coiled tube that collects and stores sperm.
The testicles develop
within the abdomen of a male baby (fetus) and
normally descend into the scrotum before or shortly after birth. A testicle
that has not descended can increase the risk for
A testicular examination
includes a complete physical exam of the groin and genital organs
(penis, scrotum, and testicles) by your doctor. Your doctor will feel (palpate) the organs and examine them for the presence
of lumps, swelling, shrinking (testicular atrophy), or other visual signs of an
abnormality. A testicular examination can detect the causes of pain,
inflammation, swelling, congenital abnormalities (such as an absent or
undescended testicle), and lumps or masses that may indicate testicular
A genital exam is an important part of a
routine physical exam for every teenage boy and man. Baby boys should also have their genitals checked for congenital abnormalities or
undescended testicle. An undescended testicle is more
common in premature male babies than in full-term male babies.
Testicular cancer is
rare, but it is the most common cancer in men younger than age 35. Many testicular
cancers are first discovered by men themselves, or by their sex partners, as a
lump or enlarged swollen testicle. In the early stages of testicular cancer,
the lump, which may be about the size of a pea, usually is not painful.
Testicular cancer found early and treated promptly has a very high cure
Testicular self-examination (TSE)
self-examination (TSE) may detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Many
testicular cancers are first discovered by self-examination as a painless lump
or an enlarged testicle.
Experts have different recommendations for screening for testicular cancer. For example, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises against routine testicular exam or testicular self-exams in teens and men who have no symptoms.1 The USPSTF says that the evidence shows that these exams have only a small benefit and may cause harm from false-positive results that lead to having diagnostic tests or procedures you don't need.