Frequently Asked Questions
How common are testicular tumors?
Testicular tumors are uncommon. Testicular tumors develop in about 3 in 100,000 men each year. But while those numbers are low, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men age 15 to 34. Also, testicular cancers are increasing in incidence worldwide. Awareness of the disease has grown since Olympic gold medalist figure skater Scott Hamilton and cyclist Lance Armstrong have had testicular tumors.
What is the cure rate for testicular tumors?
The good news is that a strategy using surgery, chemotherapy or radiation (alone or combined) has resulted in cure rates of almost 100% for low stage or early disease, and more than 85% for more advanced tumors.
How do I perform a testicular self-exam?
Monthly testicular self-exams are the most important way to detect a tumor early. The best time to examine the testicles is right after a hot bath or shower. The scrotal skin is most relaxed at this time and the testicles can be felt more easily. The exam should be done while standing and it only takes a few minutes.
- Look for swelling in the scrotum or any changes in appearance.
- Gently feel the scrotal sac to find a testicle.
- Examine the testicles one at a time. Firmly and gently roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to feel the whole surface.
- Note that it is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other. It is also normal to feel a cord-like structure (the epididymis) on the top and back of each testicle.
- If you find a lump, swelling, pain or other change, get it checked out right away. Changes are not always cancer. If it is cancer and you catch it early, you have the best chance for a cure.