Testicular Cancer: Answers to Common Questions
In many cases, outcomes are excellent.
Testicular cancer is often a younger man’s disease. While it can occur at any age, it most often affects men in their 20s and 30s.
Coping with cancer is tough at any age. But young men with testicular cancer may worry not just about their prognosis but about how their cancer will affect their future plans.
These answers to common questions about testicular cancer may help.
How successful is testicular cancer treatment?
It’s important to remember that each cancer journey is unique. But testicular cancer treatments are often highly successful, so the outlook is good for most men. For example, the five-year survival rate is about 95%.
The chances of a full recovery can be better when the cancer was found early, before it could spread outside the testicle.
How is testicular cancer treated?
Treatment depends on many factors, such as the type of testicular cancer and whether it has spread. But in general, treatment may include:
Surgery. Radical inguinal orchiectomy is the main treatment for testicular cancer. This surgery removes the cancerous testicle through a small groin incision. Surgery alone can successfully treat early-stage testicular cancer. Doctors may recommend additional therapies, such as:
Surveillance. With this option, you will have exams and tests to check for cancer after your surgery. But you won’t have treatment unless the cancer returns. This approach helps some men avoid additional treatments and their side effects.
Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND). This surgery removes lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen, where testicular cancer sometimes spreads.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy after surgery may help ensure that all the cancer is gone. It also may be used to control cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
Radiation therapy. Radiation is usually used to target testicular cancer that has spread to lymph nodes.
Will testicular cancer affect my sex life and ability to have children?
Some testicular cancer treatments may affect fertility and the nerves that control ejaculation. If your testosterone levels are not affected, you can still have an erection and enjoy sex. It may also be harder to have children. Men with testicular cancer may choose to bank sperm before treatment.
If testicular cancer affects your confidence, reconstructive surgery may be an option. For this procedure, surgeons implant a prosthetic testicle in the scrotum. A prosthetic testicle feels and weighs much like a normal testicle.
Can testicular cancer come back?
Testicular cancer can return after being in remission, though the risk may be low for early-stage cancers. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Knowing what can be done if your cancer returns may help you feel better about your future.
Be sure to go to your follow-up tests and exams. They help your doctor look for signs of cancer recurrence. For example, your doctor may check for elevated levels of certain tumor markers in your blood. You might have these tests for up to 10 years.
Treating testicular cancer with radiation can increase the risk of other cancers later in life. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to have radiation therapy for some early cancers. You and your doctor can weigh the pros and cons of radiation when planning your treatments.
Testicular cancer experts
If you want a second opinion about your treatment options, consider the experts at Fox Chase Cancer Center. They have experience treating all types of testicular cancer to give you the best outcome with the least invasive methods.
To schedule your consultation, call 888.369.2427 or request an appointment online.