Testicular Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

Testicular Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men ages 20-35.

Risk of developing testicular cancer is higher in men who have an undescended testicle, a personal or family history of testicular cancer, or an HIV diagnosis.

If you have pain, swelling or lumps in your testicles or groin area, you should see a doctor – especially if these symptoms last longer than two weeks.

Here is what you can expect during diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer:

Diagnosis

-Physical exam. Your doctor will perform a full-body exam and a physical examination of the testicles to check for lumps, pain and swelling.

  • -Ultrasound exam. Doctors will use an ultrasound machine to produce a sonogram image of the testicles. High-energy sound waves bouncing off internal organs and tissues provide a clear picture, so doctors can look for irregularities.
  • -Serum tumor marker test. A blood sample will be taken to test for tumor markers, which are substances in the blood that can indicate cancer when found in high quantities. To detect testicular cancer, doctors look for high levels of Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) or Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG).
  • -Inguinal orchiectomy. This surgical procedure may be performed on the testicle if there is reason to believe cancer is present. An experienced surgeon will remove the full testicle through a small incision in the groin. If cancer cells are found, the doctor will then determine the cell type to help plan treatment.

If testicular cancer is diagnosed, other tests will be performed to determine whether the cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.

Treatment

Testicular cancer is highly treatable.

Treatment largely depends on the patient’s prognosis, classified as good, intermediate or poor. The type of cancer cells present also is a factor in determining recommended treatment. Nonseminoma cells and seminoma cells spread differently and require different treatment.

There are four standard treatments for testicular cancer. The treatments may be used independently or in combination with one another.

    1. Surgery.Testicle removal may be done during diagnosis and staging, but surgery can also be used to remove any tumors that spread elsewhere in the body.

 

    1. Radiation therapy. High-energy radiation can kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.

 

    1. Chemotherapy. Drugs are used to kill and stop the division of cancer cells. These drugs are either administered by mouth or by injection into a vein or muscle.

 

  1. High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant. With this treatment option, a patient is given an infusion of stem cells after the completion of chemotherapy.

Testicular cancer treatment has the potential to cause permanent infertility. Patients who still wish to have biological children should consider visiting a sperm bank prior to treatment.

With individualized care, the doctors at Hematology and Oncology of Central Pennsylvania diagnose and treat testicular cancer using the most up-to-date methods available. To make an appointment, please call us at (717) 975-8900.