Localised testicular cancer
Early stage seminoma or non-seminoma which is confined to the testicle with no evidence of spread can usually be treated with a policy of surveillance. This means regular CT scans and blood tests will be performed to detect any recurrence. Should testicular cancer reoccur then chemotherapy will be given and the chances are that a man will be cured.
However some men may find that they want to get on with their lives and not keep returning for scans as frequently as surveillance requires. In this situation a limited dose of chemotherapy can be given after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer returning. This is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by disrupting the growth of cancer cells as they circulate in the blood.
For a video clip discussing surveillance versus chemotherapy please see below.
If men opt for up front chemotherapy it will usually be a one off dose which may take around 1-2 hours to administer. Men may feel tired and suffer some minor side effects for a week or so after.
Traditionally radiotherapy has been used to treat the lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen which may still harbour some testicular cancer for seminoma. This treatment will usually involve around 21 days of treatment every day, 5 days a week for around 10 minutes a day. It is not used for non-seminoma. Some studies have indicated that radiotherapy may increase the chance of a second cancer occurring many years after treatment.
Both chemotherapy and radiotherapy (for seminoma) are as successful as each other in curing early testicular cancer.
After having treatment for testicular cancer men will be followed up on a regular basis with visits to clinic every 6-8 weeks. These visits will gradually become less but men will still need to be monitored for around 10 years.
Most testicular cancer that reoccurs does so within 2 years of treatment. Only 5% reoccur after this.
Men who have had an orchidectomy will of course need to regularly perform testicular self-examination of their remaining testicle.
To download a copy of our Testicular Cancer Booklet please click here
To read personal stories of men who have been affected and treated for testicular cancer please click here
Last review November 2019. Next review November 2020.
References available on request.