Testicular Examination and Testicular Self-Examination (TSE)
Testicular examination and testicular self-examination (TSE) are two different methods to detect lumps or abnormalities of the Reference testicles Opens New Window.
The two testicles, or testes, are inside the Reference scrotum Opens New Window. The Reference testicles Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window are the male reproductive organs that produce Reference sperm Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window and the male hormone Reference testosterone Opens New Window. Each testicle is about the size and shape of a small egg. At the back of each testicle is the epididymis, a coiled tube that collects and stores sperm.
The testicles develop within the abdomen of a male baby (Reference fetus Opens New Window) and normally descend into the scrotum before or shortly after birth. A testicle that has not descended can increase the risk for Reference testicular cancer Opens New Window.
A testicular examination includes a complete physical exam of the groin and genital organs (penis, scrotum, and testicles) by your doctor. Your doctor will feel (palpate) the organs and examine them for the presence of lumps, swelling, shrinking (testicular atrophy), or other visual signs of an abnormality. A testicular examination can detect the causes of pain, inflammation, swelling, congenital abnormalities (such as an absent or undescended testicle), and lumps or masses that may indicate testicular cancer.
A genital exam is an important part of a routine physical exam for every teenage boy and man. Baby boys should also have their genitals checked for congenital abnormalities or an Reference undescended testicle Opens New Window. An undescended testicle is more common in premature male babies than in full-term male babies.
Some doctors recommend regular testicular exams for males ages 15 to 40 to detect testicular cancer in its early stages. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men younger than age 35. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by men themselves, or by their sex partners, as a lump or enlarged 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 promptly has a very high cure rate.
Testicular self-examination (TSE)
Testicular self-examination (TSE) may detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by self-examination as a painless lump or an enlarged testicle.
Some doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 40 perform monthly testicular self-examination. But this is controversial. Many doctors do not believe monthly TSE is necessary for men at average risk of developing testicular cancer. Monthly TSE may be recommended for men 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.
Many testicular lumps are cancerous and require immediate treatment. Usually the affected testicle is removed by surgery. In some cases, the Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window may also be removed, and Reference chemotherapy Opens New Window or Reference radiation therapy Opens New Window may be given. An artificial testicle may be inserted into the scrotum to provide a normal appearance. Because one normal testicle remains, a man's sexual and reproductive functions usually are not affected.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 31, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology