Knowing your age, medical condition and the type and stage of your cancer, your doctor will determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for your condition. After all, you will be invited to participate in the final choice.
Unlike many other cancers, testicular cancer can be permanently cured. The most common treatment for testicular cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Orchiectomy – removal of the diseased testis by inguinal surgery is always the first therapeutic step your doctor will take to get rid of the cancer. Because only one testicle is often affected, surgery is very often performed to remove one testicle. Surgery may be the only treatment used if you have an early stage testicular cancer; in moderate or advanced testicular cancer, the surgery can be associated with other therapies.
Unlike chemotherapy and radiotherapy, orchiectomy does not usually cause fertility or erectile dysfunction. For aesthetic reasons, a testicular prosthesis of the same size as the opposite testicle can be implemented.
Removal of lymph nodes – in advanced testicular cancer, your surgeon can perform a removal of abdominal lymph nodes after the first operation or after chemotherapy to eliminate the cancer completely and reduce the chances of recurrence. Although it does not cause erection problems, this procedure can cause permanent infertility.
Regular monitoring – after surgery, you will be advised to see your doctor regularly during the following years. You will be recommended to do blood tests, CT scans and X-ray examinations in order to monitor the tumor closely. In case of recurrence, your oncologist will use radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both to fight the cancer.
If you were diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer, your oncologist can recommend you to take chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment consists of using powerful chemical agents to destroy cancerous cells. These drugs can be administered orally or intravenously. Depending on the characteristic of the tumor, you can be prescribed monochemotherapy (single chemical agent) or polychemotherapy (two or more chemotherapy agents).
Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of testicular cancer if the tumor has spread to other sites, particularly lymph nodes. Because chemotherapy attacks both cancerous cells and healthy cells, it can cause several side effects:
- nausea and vomiting
- hair Loss
- decreased appetite
- Increased risk of infection.
Radiation therapy (Radiotherapy)
During the radiation therapy, your physician will expose the diseased testicle to ionizing radiation in order to alter the composition of the genetic information of the cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation acts locally on the region that is irradiated, thereby limits its action to the tumor and a small amount of healthy surrounding tissue.
Radiotherapy can be used before or after surgery, alone or in combination with surgery. Radiation therapy shrinks the tumor and prevents it from spreading into lymph nodes in the abdomen in case of seminoma. However, radiotherapy can cause temporary or permanent infertility.
Since radiotherapy can cause infertility, your oncologist can preserve your sperm, if you want to have children in the future. Talk to your doctor for more information on semen preservation.