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Testicular Cancer

Testicular Cancer: Diagnosing and Staging

Diagnosing the Cancer

When you go to the doctor, there will be a process to see if there is a cancer, and if so, how to treat it.

To begin, your physician will get a thorough family and medical history. Then, a series of procedures will begin:

Ultrasound – this is a minimally invasive way to see the tumor that uses sound waves to generate pictures.

Blood tests – the doctor will order tests to look for certain things that signal whether there is a tumor present. These are called “tumor markers.”  Doctors can track these markers after surgery to make sure the tumor is completely gone.

Removing the testicle – in many kinds of cancer, doctors may take a sample of the lump to see if cancer is there. This is called a biopsy. In testicular cancer, this is rarely done.  The reason for this is because taking a biopsy through the scrotum may spread cancerous cells to other areas of the body through blood vessels and the lymph system, a fluid collecting system.

Staging the Cancer

Once the cancer is found, doctors go through a process to see if the cancer is spread. This process is called staging.

Staging the cancer is an important part of determining if more chemotherapy or surgery is needed. We determine the stage of the cancer by presence of the disease in the lymph nodes (part of the fluid collecting system) or other organs. Imaging and blood tests are the primary means to stage a disease. The following are certain types of imaging options:

Depending on the results of the imaging and blood tests, the cancer may be in one of three stages:

For more information:

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Last Reviewed: May 12, 2015


Associate Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University