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TSE - Ballgames for Beginners
sexual health pages
TSE - oh yes, please! Couldn't we all do with a bit more of it ... ? It sounds like an OK way to while away the winter nights. And it is. It could save your life.
TSE stands for Testicular Self Examination. It is designed to help you detect the early stage of cancer of the testis, which occurs most commonly in men aged 15-40.
This leaflet talks you through TSE - it will help you to understand your own body and to recognise when something might be wrong.
TSE - when and where?
Ideally about once a month. It's easiest standing, especially after a shower or warm bath which makes the skin of the scrotum relaxed and allows the contours of the testes (balls) to be felt clearly.
TSE - how?
First, support the whole scrotum in one hand - check that the weight is roughly equal on each side. (if you're unsure, ask a friend to check ... )
Next, examine each testis in turn. Use the thumbs of both hands to very gently roll the testis between the thumbs and the other fingers. You should normally feel the testis, which has a smooth and regular surface. Just behind it is the epididymis, which is a "C" shaped structure which stores sperm. It can be separated clearly from the testis itself. If you do feel something unusual, don't panic - first check the other side! If it's the same, there's unlikely to be a problem. Any definite lumps, change in texture or irregular structures should probably be checked out by someone at the GUM Clinic. Most turn out to be innocent (the lumps, that is ... )
Other useful facts
If you get persistent pain, acheing or heaviness in the scrotum, have
it checked out - ultrasound scans are often useful in finding the
cause of the trouble (if there is anything wrong at all). The scan is
and painless, although there are probably better ways of getting
For further information on this and a range of other important sexual health issues, contact the GUM Clinic or Gay Men’s Health.
Images courtesy of the Steve Retson Project
Last updated 20th May 2004
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