Testicular Cancer Therapies

Testicular cancer begins when healthy cells start to grow at an unusually fast rate in one or both testicles. This increased tissue growth eventually produces masses known as tumors. Treatment for testicular cancer consists of orchiectomy (removal of testicles), retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

The choice of treatments depends on how early the tumor is detected, its size, type, and the overall physical condition of the patient. Physicians also need to determine if a cancer is localized (confined to the organ in which cancer started) or metastatic (growing both in the original starting place and spreading elsewhere in the body).

You will almost certainly have had an operation to have your testicle removed in order to diagnose your cancer. This operation is called an orchidectomy or orchiectomy. The testicle can be replaced with a false one, called a prosthesis. This will mean that your scrotum appears normal after your operation.

Your ability to have an erection and your fertility will not be affected as long as only one testicle is removed. Having cancer in both testicles is rare. If you do have both testicles removed, you will no longer be able to father children. You will need hormone replacement.
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Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy usually follows surgical removal of the testicle. In radiation therapy, high-dose x rays are focused on the cancerous area to stop the growth of cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is generally performed on an outpatient basis, usually 5 days a week for several weeks, with the weekends providing a brief recovery period.
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If the cancer has spread to other organs, a patient will require chemotherapy, which destroys cancer cells or damages them to prevent continued growth. Chemotherapy drugs for testicular cancer usually include a combination of cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide.

Chemotherapy is often performed on a brief inpatient basis. The duration may be several weeks, with rest periods between cycles.
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