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Testicular Cancer - Treatment Overview

If you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, your doctor will explain what type of cancer you have, whether it has spread beyond the testicle (metastasized), and the potential for curing it. You and your doctor will discuss your treatment options and possible outcomes of those treatments. Testicular cancer is highly curable, especially when it's diagnosed at an early stage.

If the cancer isn't treated during its early stages, it may spread (metastasize) to the lymph nodes and to the lungs, liver, brain, and bones. But often testicular cancer that has spread can still be treated successfully.

Some cancer treatments raise your risk of infertility. Unless you are sure you won't want to father a child in the future, talk to your doctor about sperm banking before any treatment for testicular cancer.

Treatment begins with surgery (orchiectomy) to remove the affected testicle. After surgery, depending on which type of cancer cells are present and whether your cancer has spread to other areas of your body (stage), you may need only surveillance. Or you may need further treatment.

Most testicular cancers are either seminomas or nonseminomas. The main difference between the two is that seminomas grow and spread slowly and respond to radiation therapy. Nonseminomas grow and spread more quickly than seminomas. They don't respond to radiation.

Additional information about testicular cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/testicular.

Seminomas

Seminomas are the kind of testicular cancer that grow and spread slowly. After surgery, treatments may include:

For seminomas that are more advanced (stage II or stage III cancers), treatments begin with surgery (orchiectomy) and may include radiation, chemotherapy, or combination chemotherapy. After chemotherapy, tissue masses that remain may need to be removed with surgery.

Nonseminomas

Nonseminomas are the kind of testicular cancer that grow and spread more quickly than seminomas. They don't respond well to radiation therapy. After surgery, treatments may include:

For nonseminomas that are more advanced (stage II or stage III cancers), treatments begin with surgery (orchiectomy) and may include surgery to remove lymph nodes, chemotherapy, or combination chemotherapy. After chemotherapy, any tissue masses that remain will be removed with surgery, if possible.

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