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TESTICULAR SELF-EXAMINATION (TSE)

Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in men between 15 and 35 years of age. Although it accounts for only about 1 percent of all cancers in men, it is the number one cancer killer among men in their 20's and 30's.  The disease is highly curable if it is diagnosed in early stage. Men can greatly increase their chances of early diagnosis by performing a simple procedure called testicular self-examination (TSE).

Risk Factors:

The disease develops more frequently in Whites than in Blacks. Men with a past history of undescended testicles at birth are at higher risk. Self-exam is especially important for these individuals.

How To Perform TSE:

TSE should be performed once a month after a warm bath or shower. The warm temperature and water causes the scrotal skin to relax, making it easier to find a lump or mass. The procedure itself is simple and only takes a few minutes:

  • Stand naked in front of a mirror. Look for any swelling on the skin of the scrotum. It is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.

  • Examine each testicle gently with both hands. The index and middle fingers should be placed on the top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. (Fig. 1) Feel for a small lump--about the size of a pea--on the front or side of the testicle. These lumps are usually painless.

  • Find the epididymis (a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports sperm). Do not confuse the epididymis with a lump. (Fig. 2)

  • Feel for any lumps or mass - about the size of a pea - on the front or the side of the testicle. These lumps are usually painless.

If you have any lumps or other symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have testicular cancer; but, you must be checked by a physician.  If detected and treated early, more than 90% of the patients are cured by surgery and radiotherapy.  

                      

               Figure 1                                                      Figure 2

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