Within your scrotum are your testicles and the other structures important for production, storage and transfer of sperm. Ideally, you should check each month for scrotal lumps. If you notice an abnormal lump in your scrotum, you should always get this checked by a doctor, even if you have no other symptoms, as a scrotal mass is sometimes a sign of cancer.
Although a testicular abnormality present from birth or a family history of testicular cancer increase your risk of scrotal masses, all men should check their scrotum for lumps monthly. After a bath or shower is ideal, as the heat relaxes the scrotum, making lumps easier to find. Check for anything unusual on the surface of your scrotum and feel your scrotum for any changes. You should examine each testicle individually, rolling them between your thumb and fingers to check for any lumps. You should also check your epididymis for swelling, which you will find behind your testicle, but higher up.
The appearance of a lump in your scrotum can vary depending on its causes. Sometimes you will just notice an unusual mass, but other signs that may accompany the lump include:
The causes of lumps in your scrotum are varied, but include:
You should never ignore scrotal lumps or swelling, as even if your mass isn't cancerous, it may still affect your fertility and future health. When you attend your appointment, you can expect a physical examination. This involves feeling the scrotum and its contents, as well as the surrounding areas of your grain to check for abnormalities. Don't be surprised if your doctor also shines a bright light on to your scrotum, as this helps to identify the size, position and likely material of your scrotal mass. Besides the physical examination, you may also receive a range of tests. Providing a sample of urine can help identify the presence of bacteria or viruses. A blood sample may also show the presence of an infection, though a blood test is also available to exclude testicular cancer as a diagnosis. Additionally, an ultrasound scan provides further details about your scrotal mass. If testicular cancer is suspected, you may receive a CT scan to check whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
The treatment you receive will depend on your diagnosis. For instance, masses caused by bacterial infections are treatable with antibiotics, while scrotal lumps that are viral in nature are treated just by rest, ice to reduce the swelling and painkillers. For non-cancerous scrotal masses, you may not receive any treatment if they don't cause you any discomfort and there is not an infection or fertility risk. However, they may need draining or removal if they are painful or there are associated risks with leaving them. Finally, if you have testicular cancer, surgical removal of the affected testicle, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are all likely treatment options. If you are concerned about scrotal lumps, don't delay making an appointment with Mr Mark Feneley.
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