• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Testicular self-exam

June 17, 2021
a smiling middle-aged man with glasses and a grey beard and hair

Health care providers and medical organizations differ on their recommendations for testicular self-exams.

Routine testicular self-exams can 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 or, less likely, a serious condition such as testicular cancer.

Most changes in your testicles aren't caused by testicular cancer, though. A number of noncancerous conditions can cause changes in your testicles, such as a cyst, injury, infection or hernia, or a hydrocele, which is a collection of fluid around the testicles.

Performing a testicular self-exam doesn't pose any direct risks. However, if you notice something unusual that concerns you, follow-up exams could lead to unnecessary worry and medical tests.

Learn more about the pros and cons of regular testicular self-exams. And connect with other men talking about cancer screening in the Men's Health support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.