From the first time a boy gets his testicles hit in the schoolyard, he becomes keenly aware of his nuts. But while men talk about, joke about and learn to carefully protect their testicles, most men don’t know them as well as they should.
Finding your ‘normal’
There are many kinds of problems that can affect your testicles — from swelling of the epididymis (the coiled tube at the back of the testes where sperm are stored and matured) to twisting of the testicles and pea-sized lumps on your scrotum. And while most lumps found in the scrotum aren’t cancer, it’s important to check your testicles regularly, get to know your ‘normal’, and see the doctor when something doesn’t feel right.
How to check your nuts
A testicular self-examination is quick and easy to do, and it’s worth scheduling a regular check into your calendar or fitness app so you don’t forget.
Here’s how to do it:
Stand in front of a mirror
Check for any swelling on the skin of your scrotum. Hold your scrotum in your hands and feel the size and weight of each testicle. Don’t worry if one testicle is a little bigger or hangs lower than the other — that’s totally normal
Feel each testicle and roll it between your thumb and finger, one at a time, checking for any lumps or swelling. The testicles should feel firm, and the surface should feel smooth
You should also be able to feel your epididymis, a soft tube toward the back of each testicle that carries sperm to the ejaculatory ducts. Check for any swelling in this area
You shouldn’t feel any pain when checking your testicles
If anything feels unusual or painful, just book in with your GP to get it checked by a professional.
Tip: You also might find it easier to do after a warm bath or shower when the skin of your scrotum is relaxed.
What about testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a condition where abnormal cells develop in the testicle. These cells then grow, divide and multiply, creating a growth, or tumour, which will usually appear as a painless lump.
While testicular cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in young men, it’s also one of the most treatable cancer types, with survival rates over 95%.
Are you at risk of testicular cancer?
All men should examine their testicles regularly and get any changes checked, but there are some people who are at higher risk.
If you have a family history of testicular cancer, have had previous testicular cancers, been diagnosed with fertility problems, or had a history of undescended testes, you do have a higher chance of developing testicular cancer.
Want to know more about testicular cancer? Read more here.
What else can you do?
Don’t put off your testicular self-examination. Why not check them after tonight’s shower? It only takes a few minutes to know your nuts, and it could save your life.
If you don't have a regular doctor, use our Find a Doctor tool to find one local to you.