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DIY Health Checks 7. Testicular Self-Exam

This final DIY health check is for our cis men - the testicular self-exam. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers among young men and you can play a big role in detecting it early. Just like the breast self-exam, it is recommended that you perform this exam once a month - this way you will have any easier time noticing any changes. And two things to keep in mind about your anatomy first: it’s normal for one testicle to be bigger or hang lower than the other and it’s also easy to mistake epididymis for an unusual mass (epididymis is a coiled set of tubes that lines the back and top of each testicle - it will feel softer and bumpier than the testicle it's attached to). To begin, the best time to perform this self-exam is during a shower as the warm water will relax the muscles holding the testicles, thereby making the exam easier. Starting with one side, gently roll the scrotum with your fingers to feel the surface of the testicle. Check for any lumps, bumps or unusual features. Contrary to what most of us my assume, cancerous tumors typically aren't painful. Make note of any changes in size over time. While the most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless mass, some men experience swelling of the testicles and scrotum, so make note of any dull soreness or heaviness. Repeat on both sides! If you are unsure if what you are finding is normal or not, of course, consult with your physician. But always remember that early detection with many diseases is very much in our own hands (quite literally) - so do your monthly checks!

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