Testicular cancer is not common. It is often first discovered by the man himself, or his sex partner, as a lump or an enlarged and swollen testicle. In the early stages of testicular cancer, the lump, which may be about the size of a pea, usually is not painful. Testicular cancer has a high cure rate.
Experts have different recommendations for screening for testicular cancer. For example, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises against routine testicular exam or testicular self-exams in teens and men who have no symptoms.1 The USPSTF says that the evidence shows that these exams have only a small benefit (if any) and may cause harm from false-positive results that lead to having diagnostic tests or procedures you don't need.
Testicular self-examination (TSE) may detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Many doctors do not believe that monthly TSE is needed for men who are at average risk for testicular cancer. Monthly TSE may be recommended for men who are at high risk for testicular cancer. This includes men with a history of an undescended testicle or a family or personal history of testicular cancer.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2011). Screening for testicular cancer: Reaffirmation recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf10/testicular/testicuprs.htm.
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology