Screening for Testicular Cancer

James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

It is estimated there will be 7,600 cases of testicular cancer in 1998 in the United States. It is the most common cancer in men between the ages of15-34 years of age. This is an age when many individuals feel "invincible", thus it is harder to get patients to practice screening on a regularbasis. Although most patients can be cured of testicular cancer, it is estimated that 400 American men will die of this disease in 1998.

Most testicular cancers present with a mass in the scrotum that can be felt by the man. Sometimes patients present with a dull ache in the groin,abdomen, or testicle. Fortunately, testicular cancer is a highly curable disease, which makes screening very important. It is always better to catchcancer at an early stage of disease to obtain the best outcome.

Testicular self-examination is as important to men as breast self-examination is to women. Testicular self-examination should be performed on amonthly basis as recommended by the American Cancer Society. It is best performed after a warm shower because this is when the testes aremost descended and the scrotal skin is relaxed. This will allow for a more complete examination. Roll each testicle between the thumb andfingers. Feel for any lumps or nodules. You may feel the epididymis, which is a soft structure on the superior/posterior aspect of the testicle thatis involved in sperm storage and transport. If any abnormalities are felt, notify your physician so that a formal examination can be performed.

For more information on testicular cancer see the Testicular Cancer Resource Center homepage and OncoLink's Testicular Cancer section.

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