Finding a glob down there is one of the most terrifying things a guy can experience. But if the glob really is testicular cancer, catching it early could save your life.
Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer, but your chances of thumping it fell if it spreads before its diagnosed.
For example, 99 percentage of men with localized testicular cancermeaning it hasnt spread from the testissurvive more than five years. But the rate drops-off to 74 percentage once it spreads to distant organs, according to data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program( SEER ).
Heres how to be proactive about your own testicular health.
Related : The Mens Health Better Man Project2, 000+ Quick Tricks For Living Your Healthiest Life
Should You Perform Regular Testicular Self Exams?
Currently, the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends against routine testicular ego exams.
A big part of that is because they is argued that guys might be unnecessarily stressed out by observing things on the ego quiz that they think are harmfulbut arent, mentions Tobias Kohler, M.D ., a spokesperson for the American Urological Association and an associate professor of urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Its possible that parts of your testicular anatomysay, your spermatic cord or epididymis, the tube that connects your testicle to your vas deferensmight feel bumpy enough to freak you out, but they are perfectly normal, mentions Dr. Kohler.
At your next visit with your doctor, ask him or her to point them out to you so you know what they feel like.
Related : 15 Facts You Didnt Know About Your Penis
Once you have these structures squared away, you should be able to pick up on any potentially problematic a difference in your testicles, mentions Dr. Kohler.
Thats why many urology experts still believe its smart to check your balls.
In fact, Dr. Kohler and Mens Health urology advisor Larry Lipshultz, M.D ., both recommend you analyse your testicles once a month. Heres how to get started.
How Perform a Testicular Self Exam
The best place to give your testicles a once-over is in the shower.
Related : 6 Things You Should Never Do In the Shower
Thats because the warmth will loosen your scrotum and make it easier for you to feel any abnormalities, mentions Nicholas Cost, M.D ., a urologist and helper prof at the University of Colorado.
Start at the top of your left testicle. Hold it between your thumb and thumbs of both hands, and gently roll it between your thumbs as you move down. Repeat on the right side.
Be on the lookout for any hard chunks, smooth or rounded bumps, or unusual a difference in the sizing, shape, and consistency of your testicle, Dr. Cost mentions.
You might not be able to feel a mass itself, but it could attain your testicle feel very firm.
Related : 5 Scary Things That Happen to Your Penis When You Age
It can be scary to find something weird, but just know that not all irregularities you find on your ego quiz point definitively to testicular cancer, mentions Dr. Kohler.
For instance, if your testicles feel like what can only be described as a container of worms, you might have varicoceles, or enlarged veins in your testicles.
You may also find innocuous bumps that are just cysts or research results of a testicular torsion, which is a painful condition where your testicle gets twisted and swells up.
Only your doctor can know for sure, though. So if you notice a bump or glob that seems different, abruptly seems, or only worries you, schedule an appointment with your urologist right off.
Additional reporting by Paige Fowler, Joelle Smith, and Erin Weaver .
This article originally appeared on Menshealth.com .