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Early detection: finding testicular cancer early
- Most cases of testicular cancer can be detected at an early stage, and men often find the cancer themselves while performing self-examinations.
- Some doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to identify any changes. However, some testicular cancers may not cause symptoms and may go undetected until they reach an advanced stage.
- Men who notice a lump, hardness, enlargement, pain, or any other change in one or both of their testicles should visit their doctor immediately.
- For patients with cancer that is confined to the testicle without spread to any other part of the body, surgery to take out the testicle (radical orchidectomy) usually cures the patient. Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation is used to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Many times, very careful follow-up and surveillance by the patient’s oncologist is performed to watch for a relapse. Then, chemotherapy or radiation is used.
- For patients with disease that has spread outside of the testicle, a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery is used to potentially cure the patient. These treatments are carefully tailored to the patient’s by their oncologist.
- Patients who have been cured of their testicular cancer need to be followed by their oncologist very carefully. This may involve patient visits and physical examinations with bloodwork, chest x-rays and CT scans on a frequent basis.
- It is important to catch a relapse early, so that it can be treated with a higher chance of cure. Patients that forget to see their doctor or miss their appointments risk detecting the recurrence at a much later stage which may lower their chance of cure.