In the world of penis problems, one looms large in the fears of men: testicular cancer. Horror stories abound about men who wound up with testicular cancer, including some high-profile individuals: Lance Armstrong is the first to come to mind for most, as well as figure skater Scott Hamilton and comedian Tom Green. The good news is that proper penis care that includes monthly checks of the testicles can go a long way toward spotting changes early, and thus getting a man in for treatment if anything is detected.

How to look for testicular cancer

Knowing and recognizing the signs of testicular cancer are the most important parts of a testicular exam. A man should take the time to become very familiar with this particular set of balls, so that he will have no problem noticing changes in the future. The first few times he does this exam, it’s all about getting that familiarity. Once he knows everything there is to know about the way his testicles feel, he can go about looking for the signs of testicular cancer at every new exam.

A self-exam should be done at least once a month. Here’s what a man should look for:

1. Changes in size. There should be no variation in size of the testicles from one month to the next. If it seems that one side (or both) is growing, swelling or otherwise changing shape, that could be a red flag that something is wrong in there.

2. Changes in hanging. How the boys hang could also be a factor to watch. Looking in the mirror every now and then to make sure they look the same is a good idea. It’s normal for one testicle to hang lower than the other. However, if one hangs much lower or they otherwise look different, pay attention.

3. Changes in lumps or bumps. Some men will have lumps or bumps in the sacks, and that’s normal. In fact, one such area might be the tiny tube that carries sperm - it sometimes feels like a pea or marble between the fingers. Remember, the key here is to look for changes. If there is a particular lump that has been there for years but never changed, it’s probably nothing. But if that lump does start to change, then it could be something.

4. Changes in softness. The testicles should be soft and spongy when a man pulls on them. They shouldn’t feel hard, waterlogged, or otherwise filled with fluid. If it seems they just don’t feel right, see a doctor to get a professional opinion.

5. Changes in pain. A testicular exam shouldn’t cause pain. A man should be able to roll the skin between his fingers, feel along the underside of the scrotum, poke and prod while looking for lumps or bumps, and even squeeze the area without any discomfort. If he suddenly feels pain or discomfort while doing these things, that’s a sign that he needs to get checked out.

6. Changes in the penis. Testicular cancer can also show up in penis changes. One of these is discharge of a clear or yellow substance from the penis when the testicles are manipulated. This could indicate something going on in there, or it could also indicate some sort of infection in the penis itself. This type of discharge always warrants a doctor’s visit.

A man should take care to do a self-exam at least once per month. He can help along his penis health and get a casual exam in while using a top-notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) on a daily basis. Look for a crème that contains Shea butter and vitamin E for softness, as well as alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant that fights against free radicals. This great combination can help improve penis health and offer peace of mind for those worried about penis problems.