Testicular self-exam, or TSE, is a painless, simple and very important monthly procedure for early detection of testicular cancer. Men who have an undescended or partially descended testicle are at a much higher risk of developing testicular cancer.
The first sign of testicular cancer is usually a slight enlargement or change in the consistency of the testicle. Small lumps, about the size of a pea, may be initially painless. As they grow larger, however, the testicle becomes firmer and you may notice a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, or a sensation of heaviness.
Although most lumps are non-cancerous, be sure to report any inconsistency to your doctor immediately. Cancer is most common in men aged 20-35. Regular self-examination for testicular changes can lead to early diagnosis and effective treatment.
A testicular self-exam (TSE) should be performed after a warm shower or bath when the skin of the scrotum is most relaxed. The heat causes the skin to relax, making the exam easier. Examine both testicles regularly, at least once a month.
Anatomy of the Scrotum
The testes (singular, testis) are two glandular organs located within the scrotum that produce sperm and male hormones. Each testis is egg-shaped, and a tubular structure called the epididymis is situated along its back portion. At its lower end, the epididymis connects to a longer tubular structure called the vas deferens (seminal duct) that leads to the prostate gland.
The epididymis collects sperm produced in the testis. The sperm then travel up the vas deferens to the prostate gland in the seminal fluid. There, secretions are added which aid sperm motility (ability to move about), producing semen. Semen is released from the prostate gland into the urethra, through which it exits the body during sexual intercourse.
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