Skip To Content

    12 Things To Remember When Checking Your Balls For Lumps

    Carpe testes.

    Hey, gang. Serious question: How are your balls doing?

    youtube.com

    Feeling a little tender? Heavy? Got a surprise triplet down there? What you're feeling could be a symptom of testicular cancer.* Check in with your doctor and see if a testicular self-check regimen would be a good thing for you.

    *Spoiler: It's probably not cancer, but better safe than sorry!

    Testicular self-checks can be a mysterious thing. They're just balls, right? Why bother?

    BuzzFeed Life spoke to Dr. James McKiernan, urologist-in-chief at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Brad Leibovich, the chair of urology at the Mayo Clinic, to figure out the whys and hows of carpe-ing your testes.

    1. Men in their twenties and early thirties — aka men who least expect it — are more likely to get testicular cancer than men of other age groups.

    2. More specifically, white men tend to be diagnosed more often.

    3. There are a few risk factors that result in testicular cancer, but none that are within your control.

    4. In the rare event that it does occur, testicular cancer can sneak up on you without any warning.

    5. Testicular cancer treatment can have some shitty side effects on the rest of your body.

    6. Not to mention your self-esteem.

    HBO

    The first step of treatment is to remove the affected testicle, says McKiernan. "Only about 1.5–2% of patients will actually get it in both testicles, which is thankfully very rare, but significant because doctors will have to remove both, which has a dramatic impact on hormonal and sexual function," he says.

    Naturally, losing a ball or two can be a big deal to some guys. "It's a pretty psychologically and physically traumatic process," says McKiernan. "In my experience, about 25% of men will request to have an artificial testicular implant at the time of surgery. Of course, implants have no hormonal function or do any of the things testicles do."

    7. All in all, catching testicular cancer early can save you loads of time, money, and anxiety in the long run.

    8. So how DO you check yourself for testicular cancer?

    Here's Dr. McKiernan's advice on how you can check your balls for lumps:

    Each testicle is shaped like an egg. If you were to hold a hard-boiled egg in your hand, that's what your testicle roughly looks like. There are variations on shape and size, but it's an elliptical spherical object that sits inside the scrotum. The scrotum, which is the skin of the sac, has no issues; there's no cancer of the scrotum. It's the egg, if you will, inside that sac.

    What you wanna do is feel all surfaces of that egg. The testicle itself will feel like that hard-boiled egg; it has a certain rubbery consistency to it. What you're feeling for is an area on the egg that feels like somebody left the shell on.

    Imagine: someone gives you a hard-boiled egg and half the shell was still on it. If you closed your eyes, you could find that half of the egg and say, "Yeah, there it is. There's a hard spot." So that's what a tumor feels like — a dense hard spot that doesn't give when you squeeze it.

    9. Your first self-check is a getting-to-know-you stage.

    10. But don't check yourself TOO often! Once a month is enough.

    11. When you do discover something unusual, don't hesitate to go to the doctor.

    12. Remember: Before you lose your balls, have the balls to go to the doctor!

    So grab your balls by the balls! Schedule a physical check-up with your doctor and get to know what's normal for you.

    Carpe testes, gang.

    Want to be the first to see product recommendations, style hacks, and beauty trends? Sign up for our As/Is newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form