Physical exams for men
To make an appointment to be seen, call a Public Health Family Planning Clinic nearest you.
The male exam is an exam of a man's reproductive organs (penis and testicles) to assess health. During the exam, the health provider will check your weight, blood pressure, and health history. The health provider will also screen for testicular cancer. Sometimes, the exam includes testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The male exam is a great time to ask questions about sex, birth control, health concerns like quitting tobacco, or how to prevent STDs.
Screening for testicular cancer
An important part of the male exam is screening for testicular cancer. During the exam, your health provider will check your testicles (balls) for any unusual lumps, bumps, tenderness or swelling that could signal cancer. Your provider will also talk to you about the importance of checking your own testicles every month. This is called testicular self-exam (TSE). Men who do monthly TSEs have a much better chance of finding testicular cancer early, while it's still very treatable. TSE is easy and only takes a few minutes. Learn how to do a Testicular Self Exam (TSE).
Who is at risk for testicular cancer?
Men of any age can develop testicular cancer, but it is the most common type of cancer for men ages 15 - 35. Testicular cancer can be treated very successfully when it is found early. That's why it's so important for men to do monthly TSEs, and to see their health provider for a male exam.
Screening for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
Depending on your medical history and any current symptoms you may be experiencing, you and your health provider will decide if you should be tested for any STDs during your visit.
How are the STD tests done?
The most common STDs, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, are tested for by collecting a urine sample (peeing in a cup). Syphillis and HIV testing requires a blood test. If someone has a lesion (an open sore), the provider will swab it with a cotton swab.
Will my provider automatically test me for STDs during a male exam?
Some health care providers don't test for STDs during a male exam unless you tell them you have symptoms of an infection. However, many STDs don't have symptoms. If you think you might be at risk for an STD, make sure to tell your health care provider.
REMEMBER: It's important to be honest with your provider about your sexual behavior - even if you feel embarrassed. The information you provide will help your provider give you the best care possible, and it will not be shared with anyone else unless you give permission.
Other STD tests
If you have questions about other STD, visit the Public Health STD website for more information.
STDs and sexual assault
STDs can sometimes be the result of a sexual assault. If you think you may have an STD resulting from a sexual assault and you live in Western Washington, call the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center's Crisis/Information line at 1-888-998-6423. Their advocates are willing to answer questions about what STD tests are recommended, how to talk to your health provider about sexual assault, and legal issues.
External links for sexual assault
- Home Alive
Home Alive is a Seattle-based collective non-profit dedicated to ending violence of all types through providing low cost & free self-defense classes.
- King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
24 hr crisis intervention, legal advocacy for all sexual assault victims, counseling child victims of sexual assault. Education & training.
24-hour sexual assault resource line: 1-888-99-VOICE (1-888-998-6423) -- toll free in Washington State.
- Anti-Harassment Trainers assembled by Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Office of Civil Rights
- Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
- Crisis Connections open 24-hours at 1-866-427-4747
Crisis Connections connects people in physical, emotional and financial crisis to services that will be of help. They help to reduce immediate emotional distress and defuse crises for individuals, families and the community; to reduce the immediate risk of violence to one's self and others; and to increase the ability of people to access the safety net, particularly for mental and emotional support services. 24-hour Crisis Line: 1-866-427-4747.
- Perspectives on Acquaintance Rape
- Safe Schools Coalition of Washington
Safe Schools works to make schools safe for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, educators and parents. Free staff training. Intervention for students who are being harassed.
- United States Department of Education's Regional Office for Civil Rights