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Friday, August 5, 2016
If testicular cancer is suspected, the doctor refers the patient to an urologist for further care and surgery. An urologist is a doctor that deals with issues involving the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureter, bladder, prostate, and genitals.
Treatment options are based on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, patient characteristics, and patient preferences. Below is a list of potential treatment options. Click on the links for more information:
Surgery (main type of treatment)
Removal of the testicle
This process is called radical inguinal orchiectomy. The surgeon removes the testicle and the tumor, as well as the spermatic cord. Also, a pathologist examines the tumor, determines what type it is, and whether or not further treatment is needed.
Removing abdominal lymph nodes
This surgery is called retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RLND). It is for testicular cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. Here, the surgeon works in the abdomen in order to remove the lymph nodes in which the cancer has spread.
Other Treatment Options
Depending on the situation, other treatments may be needed. These include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, high dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant or other complementary therapies.
Depending on the stage of disease, a surgery may be the extent of therapy needed to be cured. Your physician may choose to observe by performing blood tests, chest x-ray, and a CT scan every few months for the first two years. The follow-ups become less frequent after this, and eventually annual follow-ups are all you need to make sure there has been no relapse of cancer.
Through the course of follow-up, if you need to switch doctors, it is important to obtain a full report of your care, including pathology reports, operative reports, chemotherapy or radiation therapy reports, and follow-up care.
Removal of testis can lead to decrease in testosterone levels which may require hormone supplementation. If one normal functioning testis is preserved then fertility is generally conserved after treatment of the cancer. It is important to discuss sperm banking options with your physician.
Last Reviewed: May 12, 2015
Associate Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University