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5 reasons to conduct a monthly testicular self-exam

Testicular cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the testes, the male reproductive organs within the scrotum. According to the American Cancer Society, the disease affects more than 9,000 men annually, causing about 400 deaths every year.

To combat the disease, doctors stress the importance of conducting monthly testicular self-exams. Here are five reasons why:

1. You are your best advocate. Men or their partners, not physicians, discover most cases of testicular cancer.

“Monthly self-exams are the best way to find testicular cancer,” says Richard Jadick, D.O., a urologist at Piedmont. “Early detection is critical when treating the disease. If you notice a lump or mass when conducting a self-exam, reach out to your primary care physician.”  

2. Self-exams are easy to do.  The easiest way to conduct a self-exam is after taking a warm bath or shower because the scrotal skin will be relaxed.

“Use your thumb and fingers to feel around for any uneven, pea-sized lumps or masses,” says Dr. Jadick. “Anything that you can feel that stays there and doesn't move is what you're looking for.”

Lumps are often painless, but if find one, it is best to contact your doctor.

3. Besides a lump, symptoms are often subtle. Some men may develop swollen testicles or have a feeling of heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum. However most of the time, men may not have any other symptoms until the cancer is more advanced.

4. Testicular cancer affects men of all ages. Males of any age can develop testicular cancer, from infants to elderly men, but it seems to be most prevalent in younger men. According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all testicular cancer cases are in men between the ages of 20 and 34.

5. It highly curable if found early.  Testicular cancer is very treatable, and if found early, it has a greater than 90 percent survival rate.

If not detected early, testicular cancer can metastasize and spread very quickly.

To schedule an appointment with a physician near you, check out our Find A Doc page.

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