How is Testicular Cancer Treated in Children?

Testicular cancer can be treated with:

  • inguinal exploration
  • testis sparing surgery
  • total orchiectomy

Inguinal Exploration

This is recommended for any child with a testicular tumor. It is most often performed on an outpatient basis. It is used to find and likely cure the cancer. An inguinal cut (on the skin crease just above the pubic bone) is made and the testicle is guided out of the scrotum. The surgeon can then look at the exposed gland.

Testis Sparing Surgery

This can be an option when the surgeon suspects the tumor is benign based on:

  • how it looks
  • normal tumor markers (found on blood tests)
  • ultrasonography

Surgically removed tumor tissue is sent for rapid pathological analysis known as a frozen section.

Total Orchiectomy (surgical removal of the testicle)

This is needed if disease is suspected based on:

  • frozen section biopsy results
  • elevated tumor markers (found on blood tests)
  • large tumor on ultrasonography
  • testicular tumor in a postpubertal child

Further Treatment

Further care is sometimes needed, and can include:

  • retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (surgery in which small cuts are made in the midline of the belly to remove the lymph nodes)
  • radiation therapy
  • chemotherapy (treatment with drugs that kill cancer cells or stop them from spreading)

This treatment would depend on the final pathological analysis of the tumor and on the signs of tumor spread. Tumor spread is based on radiological studies that may be needed based on the tumor cell type.