Testicular cancer screening in men

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 found early and treated quickly has a very 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

A genital exam is an important part of a routine physical exam for every adolescent boy and man.

Testicular self-examination (TSE) may detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Some doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 40 perform monthly TSE. But this is controversial. Many doctors do not believe monthly TSE is needed for men who are at average risk of developing testicular cancer. Monthly TSE may be recommended for men who are at high risk of developing testicular cancer. This includes men with a history of an undescended testicle or a family or personal history of testicular cancer.

For more information, see the topic Testicular Cancer.

Citations

  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2004). Screening for testicular cancer: Recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspstest.htm.

Last Updated: August 28, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

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