Performing a testicular self-exam involves holding a testicle stable with one hand and feeling the testicle using the fingers with the other hand, advises MedlinePlus. Another method involves rolling a testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands, suggests the American Cancer Society.
A testicular self-exam requires checking each testicle individually, explains the American Cancer Society. It is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other, but large differences of size between the testicles need further examination by a doctor. Bumps, hard spots and any noticeable changes between exams are also signs that require professional examination. It is easier to perform the exam with a relaxed scrotum. Heat from a bath, shower or steam relaxes the scrotum and makes it easier to find and grip the testicles.
Each testicle has a thick tube through which sperm travels, along with blood vessels and other testicular matter that can feel like lumps, according to the American Cancer Society. Regular examinations help determine the difference between abnormal and normal tissue. Testicular self-exams are an initial screening device to detect cancerous tumors and other medical issues. The age range for self-exams is from teens to 35 years old, according to MedlinePlus. Doctors recommend that those with a family history of cancers or related illnesses perform a monthly examination.