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How are Testicular Tumors Treated?

Surgery

Suspicious tumors are first treated by removing the testicle through a small groin incision (orchiectomy). In some cases a testicular prosthesis may be placed for cosmetic reasons.

Further Treatment

Later treatment depends on the tumor, since testicular cancers are categorized by cell type. The cell type determines how the tumors act biologically and respond to treatment.

Seminoma

The most common cell type is seminoma. This type responds to radiation and chemotherapy. Active surveillance (monitoring) is often used for low stage seminomas, but you may need radiation or chemotherapy.

Nonseminomatous Tumors

Treatment can involve observation, surgery or chemotherapy. The treatment depends on the type of cell and spread of disease. A urologist will use imaging tools such as chest x-rays and computerized tomography (CT), along with blood tumor markers, to stage the cancer.

Advanced Testicular Cancer or Aggressive Tumors

Your doctor will need to gauge how far the cancer has spread. Some cases may call for surgical removal of lymph nodes in the abdomen from the area behind the peritoneum. If the disease is advanced, you may be put on chemotherapy. Often specialists prescribe a drug "cocktail," made of 2 or 3 drugs such as cisplatin, etoposide and bleomycin, to be delivered in 3 or 4, 3-week cycles. Sometimes residual tumors may need to be removed surgically after chemotherapy is completed.