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Testicular self-exams help you learn how your testicles normally look and feel. Then you’re more likely to notice subtle changes. Changes in your testicles could be a sign of a common benign condition, such as an infection or a cyst, or a less common condition, such as testicular cancer.
Upon reaching puberty, all men should conduct a monthly testicular self-exam
A testicular self-exam is an inspection of the appearance and feel of your testicles. You can do a testicular exam yourself, typically standing in front of a mirror. Routine testicular self-exams can give you a greater awareness of the condition of your testicles and help you detect changes. Self-exams can also alert you to potential testicular problems. If you detect lumps or other changes during a testicular self-exam, let us know.

How you prepare

No special preparation is necessary to do a testicular self-exam.
You might find a testicular self-exam is easier during or after a warm bath or shower. Heat relaxes the scrotum, making it easier for you to check for anything unusual.

What you can expect

To do a testicular self-exam, stand unclothed in front of a mirror. Then:
Look for swelling. Hold your penis out of the way and examine the skin of the scrotum.
Examine each testicle. Using both hands, place your index and middle fingers under the testicle and your thumbs on top.
Gently roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers. Look and feel for any changes to your testicle. These could include hard lumps, smooth rounded bumps, or new changes in the size, shape or consistency of the testicle.
While you’re doing the testicular self-exam, you might notice a few things about your testicles, such as bumps on the skin of your scrotum, that seem unusual but aren’t signs of cancer. Ingrown hairs, a rash or other skin problems can cause bumps on the skin.
You might also feel a soft, ropy cord, which is a normal part of the scrotum called the epididymis. It leads upward from the top of the back part of each testicle.


Make an appointment with your doctor if you find a lump or other change during a testicular self-exam. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor might do a testicular exam followed by a blood test, ultrasound or biopsy.
Most changes in your testicles aren’t caused by testicular cancer. A number of noncancerous conditions can cause changes in your testicles, such as a cyst, injury, infection, hernia and collection of fluid around the testicles (hydrocele).