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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview



Surgery to completely remove the tumor is done whenever possible. If the tumor is very large, chemotherapy may be given first, to make the tumor smaller and decrease the amount of tissue that needs to be removed during surgery. The following types of surgery may be used:

  • Resection: Surgery to remove tissue or part or all of an organ. If cancer is in the coccyx, the entire coccyx is removed.
  • Tumor debulking: A surgical procedure in which as much of the tumor as possible is removed. Some tumors may not be able to be completely removed.
  • Radical inguinal orchiectomy: Surgery to remove one or both testicles through an incision (cut) in the groin.
  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgery to remove one ovary and one fallopian tube.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is closely monitoring a patient's condition without giving any treatment until symptoms appear or change. For childhood extracranial germ cell tumors, this includes physical exams, imaging tests, and tumor marker tests.


Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy is treatment using more than one anticancer drug. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial.

For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.

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