If you examine your testicles regularly, you may suspect the cancer by yourself. However, to confirm the diagnosis, you will need the help of a medical professional. Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you question about your medical history. It is likely that your doctor suspect the cancer after the interrogation and the physical exam.
However, to accurately confirm that you have testicular cancer, your doctor will recommend blood tests, imaging techniques and biopsy.
Ultrasound – an ultrasound of the scrotum is the imaging technique of choice for evaluating problems linked testicular cancer. Your doctor will recommend this test if, during the physical examination, he noticed a swelling in the scrotum which indicates presence of a tumor.
Ultrasonography of the scrotum allows your doctor to evaluate the testis and epididymis (the tube that collects sperm produced in the testicles), and to determine whether you have cancer or another health problem having symptoms similar to testicular cancer: inflammation of the scrotum, undescended or absent testicle, testicular torsion or abnormal blood vessels in the testes.
Blood tests – an analysis of your blood will be performed to verify the amount and appearance of different types of blood cells, and thus the functioning of your organs, including testes. In addition, blood analysis can provide evidence suggesting the presence or absence of cancer in your testicles.
The main goal of the blood test is to find some chemical substances called tumor markers specific to testicular cancer. In general, in the diagnosis of your testicular cancer, your health care provider will seek the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein or alpha-1-fetoprotein), HCG (beta-human chorionic gonadotropin) and LDH (lactate dehydrogenase).
Orchiectomy and biopsy – other procedures may indicate the presence of cancer in your testicles, but only a biopsy can confirm the presence of cancerous cells. Usually, to make possible the biopsy, your surgeon will perform an orchiectomy, complete removal of the diseased testicle. The intervention will be performed in hospital, under general anesthesia. The testicle removed will be examined in the laboratory to determine if the lump is cancerous or not. If the diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will also seek to determine the type of cancer you have in order to choose the most appropriate treatment to fight the tumor.