What do I do after treatment?
First, you need to celebrate.After your treatment, and you are deemed “in remission” there is a host of follow up tests and protocols that you may follow depending on your doctor’s recommendations. Many of the tests are similar or the same tests that were done to determine your diagnosis of testicular cancer. Below are some of the standard tests, but your doctor will determine the best protocol for you.
- Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
- CT scan(CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
- Serum tumor marker test: A procedure in which a sample of blood is examined to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs, tissues, or tumor cells in the body. Certain substances are linked to specific types of cancer when found in increased levels in the blood. These are called tumor markers The following 3 tumor markers are used in staging testicular cancer: Alpha – fetoprotein (AFP), Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG), and Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH).
The results of these tests will continue to be done for some time after treatment has ended. The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has come back. These tests are known as “follow up” or check ups.Men who have had Testicular Cancer have an increased risk for developing cancer in the other testicle (don’t worry the chances are only slightly higher), so patients are advised to regularly check the other testicle and report any unusual symptoms to a doctor right away.