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How to Do a Testicular Self-Exam in Under Five Minutes

Women do breast self-exams, so should men do testicular self-exams? It's not a bad idea, provided you aren't prone to hypochondria. In fact, it's best to do it the first time under the guidance of your doctor, who can show you exactly what to do and will explain what's normal in terms of anatomy. The procedure is easy and painless. Read on to learn more.


Why Do Testicular Self-Exams?

It's good to know your body. It's good to know what's normal for you and what isn't. That way, when something unusual shows up, you'll recognize it and act quickly. Also, you'll be less likely to be freaked about by the lumps and bumps that are part of normal, healthy physiology because you'll already be familiar with them.
Generally, men do testicular self-exams to check for cancerous changes. But the exams can also detect noncancer problems, like hydroceles and varioceles.

Are Testicular Self-Exams Recommended?

Somewhat counterintuitively, the American Cancer Society doesn't have a recommendation either way about doing or not doing testicular self-exams. That is because there isn't enough research to show that they do a whole lot of good, for instance, in terms of reducing the risk of death from testicular cancer.
Even if there isn't much evidence to say they help, they can't hurt, right? Actually, unnecessary self-exams do cause problems. They lead to unnecessary healthcare visits, tests, and even surgeries.
So, the jury is still out on testicular self-exams. Here's one idea: wait until your next doctor checkup to start doing exams. Do a self-exam the day before or day of the visit. If you find something worrisome, then you won't have to worry for too long until you see the doctor. Also, if you think everything feels all right, your doctor can help confirm that all is well, helping you to establish a normal baseline for yourself. Even better: ask your doctor to show you how to do testicular self-exams. You'll get real-time feedback about what's normal anatomy and what's not. 
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