Testicular cancer is cancer of the testicles and when caught early has excellent survival rates and can often be cured with treatment. Being diagnosed with cancer is a very daunting prospect and finding a testicular cancer care specialist is important. Usually a team of consultants including a urologist, oncologist and radiation oncologist will work together to put together the best treatment pathway for the patient. Testicular cancer treatment options can include surveillance, radiation and chemotherapy and surgery or a combination of these.
Testicular cancer care and treatments can affect fertility so it is important to discuss this fully with your consultant team when embarking on treatment.
Surveillance for testicular cancer care
This can be used for stage 0 and some stage 1 cancers. It is a way to look for changes with normal check-ups. These involve physical examinations, CT scans, ultrasound scans and tumour marker tests. If the cancer shows signs of growth or if the hormone levels change then other treatment may be recommended.
Surgery is the most common testicular cancer treatment and most often the surgery is an orchiectomy to remove the entire testicle. The spermatic cord is also removed in this surgery and following surgery surveillance will take place to ensure the cancer doesn’t return. If the man is a concerned with having only one testicle, a prosthesis can be an option.
Testis-sparing surgery – this is only recommended in some cases. This removes the tumour itself rather than the entire testicle. For this surgery the tumour must be very small and is best performed for men with benign rather than cancerous tumours. Following surgery surveillance will take place to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.
Radiation & chemotherapy
Radiation in testicular cancer treatment is used to kill cancer cell in the testicle and lymph nodes. It is not suitable for all cancers but is effective on others. Chemotherapy is used to treat cancers that have spread from the testicles or if tumour markers remain raised following surgery.
Following treatment, the recurrence rate for testicular cancer is relatively low (5%) but it is still important to self-examine and attend all the check ups suggested by your consultants.
In terms of fertility and sex life, testicle removal should not change your sexual energy or fertility in the long term but it is important to discuss this fully with your specialist.
To discuss testicular cancer treatment options please contact our team.