Just as women should perform monthly breast self-examination (BSE), men should perform a testicular self-examination (TSE) on a monthly basis. The idea is to become so familiar with the body that even subtle changes will be noticed. TSE is performed in order to identify a number of conditions, primarily cancer. Cancer of the testes is one of the most common cancers in men 15 to 34 years of age. If discovered in its early stages, treatment can be quite effective. The first sign of testicular cancer is usually a slight enlargement of one of the testes, and a change in their consistency. There may be no pain or there may be a dull ache in the lower abdomen and groin.
The best hope for early detection is a simple 3 minute self-exam. The best time is after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotal skin is most relaxed. Roll each testicle gently between the thumb and fingers of both hands. If you find any lumps or nodules, you should see the doctor promptly.
It is also a good idea to perform regular genital self-examinations. To do this, look at the entire penis, beginning with the head and progressing down the shaft to the base. Try to notice any of the following:
- Bumps and blisters which may be reddish or flesh-colored. Some may look more like pimples.
- Open sores.
- Warts which may be similar in appearance to warts on other parts of your body, and may be difficult to detect.
Continue by spreading the pubic hair to check the skin underneath, and then check the underside of the penis. It is sometimes difficult to see this part clearly, so it may help to use a mirror. Then check the scrotum for the same symptoms. Other symptoms of STDs include burning during urination or unusual drip or discharge from the penis.