The testicle inspection guide
While women have smears tests every three years, men don't have the same routine.
But it's essential to regularly check your nether regions to make sure there are no unusual lumps or bumps that could be a sign of something more serious.
But what exactly are you looking for?
And how should you do it?
Here';s everything you need to know.
The best way to identify potential testicular problems is to spend a few minutes checking the entire surface of them once a month. Use one or both hands and preferably do it after a shower, when the skin around the testicles is warm and relaxed.
Roll each testicle between the thumb and forefinger, to check that the surface is free of lumps, but be careful not to squeeze them. Get to know the size, texture and anatomy of the testicles, including the epididymis, which is the sperm-collecting tube behind each one. Check one testicle at a time.
But what are some of the signs and symptoms of some of the most common health problems for men?
Well, if there is a fluid-filled lump which you can squelch between your fingers and can be felt separately from the testicle, it could be a cyst. These can also cause pain and swelling.
One in three men, mainly in middle age, develops cysts on their testicles.
These typically form around the epididymis and are harmless unless they cause discomfort or they become painful and swollen through infection. The cyst will normally be diagnosed with a simple examination, often by a GP.
Cysts won’t go away by themselves, but can be removed with a simple operation, normally under a local anaesthetic. However, if they don't cause any discomfort, most GPs will advise that they be left alone.
If you find a hard lump on the front or side of a testicle, or swelling or enlargement of a testicle, it could be a sign of testicular cancer. There can also be an increase in firmness or pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
This is a rare cancer, with 85 per cent of cases diagnosed in men aged 15 to 49. It also has a high survival rate: in 2012, there were 63 deaths in the UK, 12 fewer than the number of men who died from breast cancer.
As with any cancer, early diagnosis can make all the difference, which is why it's so important to check your testicles once a month. Treatment often consists of removing the affected testicle, while more advanced stages require removing lymph nodes around the testicles as well.