Early Diagnosis & Timely Treatment of Testicular Cancer
The incidence of testicular cancer has doubled over the past 40 years and continues to rise, particularly in white men. Tests used to diagnose testicular cancer include:
- ultrasound (to confirm the presence of a mass) and
- blood tests for the tumor markers
However, the only way to definitely diagnose testicular cancer is by surgical removal of the affected testicle. While many other types of cancers are diagnosed by biopsy (removing a small piece of tissue from the tumor), cutting into a testicle could spread the cancer to other parts of the body. Hence the whole testicle needs to be removed if cancer is strongly suspected.
Treatment for Testicular Cancer
In addition to the results of the diagnostic tests above, a chest x-ray and CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis are done to determine whether and how far the cancer has spread.
Stage 1 means the cancer is found only in the testicle, stage 2 means it has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen or pelvis, and stage 3 means the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other areas of the body such as the lungs and liver.
If the cancer is found only in the testicle (stage 1), removal of the testicle may be the only treatment needed. If the cancer has spread beyond the testicle, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may be used as well.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men aged 20 years and older have a testicular exam during routine physical exams. No studies have been done that look at the benefit or harm of screening for testicular cancer. If you are at high risk for testicular cancer, your doctor may advise you to do regular self-exams in order to detect any testicular changes.
Keep in mind that if you notice any symptoms of testicular cancer, such as a lump or swelling in the testicles, it is important that you see your doctor for an evaluation.
“We also offer a program of active surveillance following surgery in which patients are monitored regularly and only treated with another form of testicular cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation or both) if active cancer recurs,” says Dr. Deven Gabale, with UCA Pennington and UCA Newtown. “Because testicular cancer affects mostly young men of childbearing age, helping patients maintain fertility is of high importance. Thanks to advances in the treatment of testicular cancer, the prognosis is excellent for most men diagnosed with testicular cancer.”
If you have concerns about testicular cancer, please contact a Urology Care Alliance office near you for an appointment.