Testicular Cancer Diagnosis

If a GP has ruled out a non-cancerous condition, men will usually be referred for an urgent ultrasound scan of the testicles and to a hospital consultant called a urologist who may then perform further investigations. If the ultrasound scan shows that testicular cancer is or could be present they will organise an operation called an orcidectomy to confirm the diagnosis. This whole process can happen very quickly over the course of a few weeks.

The diagnostic pathway is explained in the following pages. It can be hard going through this process. Our Orchid nurses are here to help. Do contact us if you would like support at any stage.

Ultrasound Scan

An ultrasound scan is the best way to identify any testicular abnormalites including testicular cancer. If cancer has been identified he testicle will need to be removed during a surgical procedure called an orchidectomy

Hear men talking about their diagnosis in this video:

Other Tests

Other tests will also be carried out to see if cancer has spread beyond the testicle to other parts of the body:

Blood Tests

Some testicular cancers produce chemicals which are released into the bloodstream.  These can be used to measure cancerous activity and are called tumour markers. They are  alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (BHCG) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). If testicular cancer is present, abnormal tumour markers can be used with other investigations to decide on the best course of treatment.

Other blood tests to measure kidney and liver function will also usually be carried out.

Chest X-ray

A chest x-ray can identify any cancer which may have  spread to the lungs.

Computerised Tomography Scan (CT Scan)

A CT scan will check for any sign that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body like the lungs or lymph glands in the abdomen.

CT scans work by taking a series of x-rays that are fed into a computer to build up a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body.

Sometimes  a dye that allows particular areas to be seen more clearly may be injected into your blood. The scan does not hurt but you will have to lie still for 10-20 minutes.

For further information on having a CT scan please click here.

Next Steps

If it is clear that testicular cancer is present then surgery to remove the affected testicle will be performed. This is called an orchidectomy. If there is evidence that cancer has spread to other areas of the body, men may be referred to an oncologist (cancer specialist), before any surgery to remove the testicle.The oncologist will decide if treatment such as chemotherapy should be given before  surgery.

Receiving a diagnosis of testicular cancer can be a shock. The Orchid helpline is staffed by nurses and is here to offer advice and support. Contact us for any support you need.

Speak to one of our nurses
0808 802 0010