Doctor Visit: Testicle Lump
January 28, 2010 9:58 AM   Subscribe

What can I expect to happen from my visit to the doctor for a testicle lump?

I found a lump in my testicle a few weeks ago that seems unattached. I saved up some money and now I'm going to the doctor next Monday. What should I expect in terms of what will happen at the doctor's office? What tests might occur? Could it be as simple as a manual examination? What is the typical procedure for this sort of thing?
posted by josher71 to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Urine sample, manual examination, probably an ultrasound.
posted by smackfu at 10:06 AM on January 28, 2010

The manual examination may include a proctological expedition, so steel yourself for that (it's not as bad as pop culture makes it out to be). Be well!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:27 AM on January 28, 2010

When I had this issue (turned out mine was a cyst), the urologist did a manual examination. He squeezed the hell out of it (or at least, it felt like it). He then sent me for an ultrasound a few days later. The entire process was pretty painless except for my own worrying about the whole thing.
posted by SNWidget at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2010

He'll feel your nut, then send you for an ultrasound.
posted by gonna get a dog at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming that when you say "the doctor" you mean your family doctor / general practitioner. If this is the case, you will most likely be given a simple manual exam and be asked a number of questions about your health, habits, etc. If the doctor feels it is warranted, he will refer you to a urologist for follow-up or, possibly, to a surgeon. What you have may be a very simple, easily cured condition or it may be more serious. In either event, it is important to listen, ask questions and do everything your doctor tells you to do.

Another helpful hint: Make a list of everything you take that is remotely like medicine, including vitamins, medications, pain pills, etc. If you use other things that might be socially or legally questionable, your doctor needs to know about them too as they could affect the treatment protocol.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:33 AM on January 28, 2010

After a month of worrying, (a few years back) I saw a urologist. You're a fly on the wall:

"What the trouble?"

I explain and show him.

Rubber glove snapped on. Squeeze... squeeze. Rubber glove off.

"Cyst. Come back if it starts hurting or doesn't go away after a while."

Elapsed time: 30 seconds.
posted by The Deej at 10:39 AM on January 28, 2010

These are most often spermatocele cysts. It's a very good sign that it is not "attached." I took that to mean it's not growing on the testicle itself. The usual practice is for the doctor to perform a very quick manual exam by lightly squeezing the mass; that will (usually) determine if further examination with ultrasound is indicated.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2010

As The Deej said, after the squeezy squeezy and depending on you and your Dr.'s level of risk-aversion, you may just be advised to wait and see rather than have an ultrasound.

I'm waiting and seeing as we speak.

So there you go.
posted by onshi at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2010

"The manual examination may include a proctological expedition"

Just out of curiosity, why would it?
posted by gonna get a dog at 12:43 PM on January 28, 2010

Just out of curiosity, why would it?

Well, it needn't necessarily but GPs are becoming much more proactive about early male cancer detection, so these are a normal and routine part of physicals for some physicians now, just like blood pressure and peering in your ears. Your're there, you're dropping trou anyway - it's a good opportunity to check on your prostate health.

You always have the right to decline any medical procedure, however. I certainly have, with exactly those words: "Thanks, but no - I decline."
posted by DarlingBri at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2010

Can you shine a flashlight through the lump? If so = hydrocele. If not, more exploration needed. I speak from personal experience
posted by A189Nut at 2:28 PM on January 28, 2010

Mark Kantrowitz is a very smart guy who kindly posted his detailed chronology of dealing with a mass that turned out to be cancerous (scroll down for the detailed narrative.) Even if yours is benign (knock wood) Mark's experience is probably worth reading about.
posted by O Blitiri at 2:38 PM on January 28, 2010

couldn't tell from your post, but by "I saved up some money", does that mean you're uninsured? if so, i would highly recommend getting health insurance *before* the doctor appointment on monday.
posted by cranberryskies at 4:41 PM on January 28, 2010

Mr. Adams found a similar lump two years ago and was quite worried - his father had had testicular cancer years ago. Our GP recommended a urologist. I went with Mr. Adams to the appointment. Pretty much the same as everyone else's experience - few health history questions, list of meds he currently takes, rubber glove on, grope, squish, feel, manipulate, schedule appointment for ultrasound. After reviewing ultrasound decided it was probably just a cyst, but had us come back in six months. Same routine, manual exam and another ultrasound. Lump had not changed shape or size at all and was determined to be a nothing-to-worry-about cyst. Hope you have a similar result!
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:39 PM on January 28, 2010

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