September 1, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What are Testicular Cancer Tumor Markers?

Some Testicular Cancers elevate certain substances that are released into the blood by organs, tissues, or tumor cells in the body. These substances are linked to specific types of cancer when found in increased levels in the blood.

The tumor markers that are used to detect testicular cancer are:

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – A protein normally produced by a fetus. Alpha-fetoprotein levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of alpha-fetoprotein suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called AFP.

Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (ß-HCG) – A hormone found in the blood and urine during pregnancy. It may also be found in higher than normal amounts in patients with some types of cancer, including testicular, ovarian, liver, stomach, and lung cancers, and in other disorders. Measuring the amount of beta-human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood or urine of cancer patients may help to diagnose cancer and find out how well cancer treatment is working. Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin is a type of tumor marker. Also called beta-hCG.

Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) – LDH is usually not as common in determining testicular cancer but levels can increase and indicate widespread disease. LDH is most often measured to check for tissue damage. LDH is in many body tissues, especially the heart, liver, kidney, muscles, brain, blood cells, and lungs. Other conditions for which the test may be done include: Low red blood cell count (anemia) or cancer.

*Tumor markers are measured before inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy to help diagnose testicular cancer.

Source: Cancer.gov

August 25, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What are the stages of testicular cancer?

After testicular cancer has been diagnosed tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the testicles or to other parts of the body. There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body. The stages that are used for testicular cancer are; Stage 0, Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III. Below you will find information on these stages, along with the process of determining the stage.

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

  • Chest x-ray: An x-rayof 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.
  • PET scan(positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.
  • MRI(magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
  • Abdominallymph node dissection :surgical procedure in which lymph nodes in the abdomen are removed and a sample of tissue is checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. This procedure is also called lymphadenectomy. For patients with non seminoma, removing the lymph nodes may help stop the spread of disease. Cancer cells in the lymph nodes of seminoma patients can be treated with radiation therapy.
  • 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).

Tumor marker levels are measured again, after inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy, in order to determine the stage of the cancer. This helps to show if all of the cancer has been removed or if more treatment is needed. Tumor marker levels are also measured during follow-up as a way of checking if the cancer has come back.

The following stages are used for testicular cancer:

Stage 0 (Testicular Intraepithelial Neoplasia)

In stage 0abnormal cells are found in the tiny tubules where the sperm cells begin to develop. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. All tumor marker levels are normal. Stage 0 is also called testicular intraepithelial neoplasia and testicular intra-tubular germ cell neoplasia.

Stage I

In stage Icancer has formed. Stage I is divided into stage IA, stage IB, and stage IS and is determined after an inguinal orchiectomy is done.

All tumor marker levels are normal.

Stage II

Stage II is divided into stage IIA, stage IIB, and stage IIC and is determined after an inguinal orchiectomy is done.

All tumor marker levels are normal or slightly above normal.

  • In stage IIB, cancer is anywhere within the testiclespermatic cord, or scrotum; and either:
    • has spread to up to 5 lymph nodesin the abdomen; at least one of the lymph nodes is larger than 2 centimeters, but none are larger than 5 centimeters; or
    • has spread to more than 5 lymph nodes; the lymph nodes are not larger than 5 centimeters.

All tumor marker levels are normal or slightly above normal.

All tumor marker levels are normal or slightly above normal.

Stage III

Stage III is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC and is determined after an inguinal orchiectomy  is done.

Tumor marker levels may range from normal to slightly above normal.

The level of one or more tumor markers is moderately above normal.

The level of one or more tumor markers is high or Cancer:

  • is anywhere within the testicle, spermatic cord, or scrotum; and
  • may have spread to one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen; and
  • has not spread to distant lymph nodes or the lung but has spread to other parts of the body.

Tumor marker levels may range from normal to high.

Source: http://www.cancer.gov

August 25, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What is active surveillance?

After your diagnosis and orchiectomy, you may choose active surveillance as a treatment option.

Surveillance is closely following a patient’s condition but not treating it unless there are changes in test results. Surveillance is used to find early signs that the cancer has recurred (come back). During surveillance, certain exams and tests are done on a regular schedule to monitor the patient, and insure the cancer has not come back.

Benefits of active surveillance:

The main benefits included in active surveillance is that it avoids the need for further treatment after the orchiectomy surgery (removal of cancerous testicle). With active surveillance you opt out of treatment options such as chemotherapy, radiation, or additional surgery.

What Tests are done in accordance with Active Surveillance?

Although tests, and frequency of your tests are are determined by your doctor, below are some of the most common active surveillance exams and tests.

  • 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).
  • Chest x-ray: An x-rayof 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.

August 19, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What treatment is required for testicular cancer?

While surgeries can vary depending on stage and type of testicular cancer, below are the most common surgeries, including the required Inguinal Orchiectomy.

Inguinal orchiectomy: A procedure to remove the entire testicle through an incision in the groin. A tissue sample from the testicle is then viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. (Thesurgeon does not cut through the scrotum into the testicle to remove a sample of tissue for biopsy, because if cancer is present, this procedure could cause it to spread into the scrotum and lymph nodes. It's important to choose a surgeon who has experience with this kind of surgery.) If cancer is found, the cell type (seminoma or nonseminoma) is determined in order to help plan treatment. [1]

Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: (RPLND) is a procedure to remove abdominal lymph nodes to treat testicular cancer, as well as help establish its exact stage and type. It is usually performed using an incision that extends from the sternum to several inches below the navel. While laparoscopic methods may be used, they have been considered less effective by some surgeons. [1]

Port/Port-a-cath (optional) - A port is a small, round disc that is placed under your skin during minor surgery. A surgeon puts it in place before you begin your course of treatment (chemotherapy), and it remains there until you have finished. A catheter connects the port to a large vein, most often in your chest. Your nurse can insert a needle into your port to give you chemotherapy or draw blood. This needle can be left in place for chemotherapy treatments that are given for longer than one day. Be sure to watch for signs of infection around your port.

Orchiectomy: removal of the testicle (inguinal orchiectomy) and some of the lymph nodes may need to be surgically removed. (RPLND) See Inguinal Orchiectomy in “Surgeries” for more information.

Surveillance: is closely following a patient's condition without giving any treatment unless there are changes in test results. In surveillance, patients are given CT scans, chest x-rays, and blood work on a regular schedule. Regular schedules will be determined with your doctor.

Radiation therapy: is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy: uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy: uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of drugs to treat cancer. The drugs can be swallowed in pill form, or they can be injected by needle into a vein or muscle. To treat testicular cancer, the drugs are usually given into a vein. Chemo is systemic therapy. This means that the drug travels throughout the body to reach and destroy the cancer cells. Chemo is an effective way to destroy any cancer cells that break off from the main tumor and travel to lymph nodes or distant organs.

Chemo is often used to cure testicular cancer when it has spread outside the testicle or to decrease the risk of cancer coming back after the testicle is removed. It is not used to treat cancer that is only in the testicle.

Doctors give chemotherapy in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Chemo cycles generally last about 3 to 4 weeks. The main drugs used to treat testicular cancer are:

  • Cisplatin
  • Etoposide (VP-16)
  • Bleomycin
  • Ifosfamide (Ifex®)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol®)
  • Vinblastine

Using 2 or more chemo drugs is often more effective than using any single drug. The chemotherapy regimens most commonly used as the initial treatment for testicular cancer are:

  • BEP (or PEB): bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin
  • EP: etoposide and cisplatin (also known as EP)
  • VIP: VP-16 (etoposide) or vinblastine plus ifosfamide and cisplatin

Some doctors use more intensive regimens for patients with high-risk disease, and may suggest a different combination of chemotherapy drugs or even a stem cell transplant.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/detailedguide/testicular-cancer-treating-chemotherapy

August 19, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What surgery is required for testicular cancer?

While surgeries can vary depending on stage and type of testicular cancer, below are the most common surgeries, including the required Inguinal Orchiectomy.

Inguinal orchiectomy: A procedure to remove the entire testicle through an incision in the groin. A tissue sample from the testicle is then viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. (Thesurgeon does not cut through the scrotum into the testicle to remove a sample of tissue for biopsy, because if cancer is present, this procedure could cause it to spread into the scrotum and lymph nodes. It's important to choose a surgeon who has experience with this kind of surgery.) If cancer is found, the cell type (seminoma or nonseminoma) is determined in order to help plan treatment. [1]

Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: (RPLND) is a procedure to remove abdominal lymph nodes to treat testicular cancer, as well as help establish its exact stage and type. It is usually performed using an incision that extends from the sternum to several inches below the navel. While laparoscopic methods may be used, they have been considered less effective by some surgeons. [1]

Port/Port-a-cath (optional) - A port is a small, round disc that is placed under your skin during minor surgery. A surgeon puts it in place before you begin your course of treatment (chemotherapy), and it remains there until you have finished. A catheter connects the port to a large vein, most often in your chest. Your nurse can insert a needle into your port to give you chemotherapy or draw blood. This needle can be left in place for chemotherapy treatments that are given for longer than one day. Be sure to watch for signs of infection around your port. 

[1] National Cancer Institute, 2014 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/testicular/Patient

August 19, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Why fertility preservation?

The removal of one testicle, coupled with other aspects of treatment,can mean a decrease in fertility. Before undergoing treatment, virtually all testicular cancer patients “bank” sperm, which is like donating to a sperm bank, only the sperm is for your future use. Not all testicular cancer survivors become infertile, but banking sperm is considered good “insurance” to have, just in case. And we strongly recommend this.

*If you need financial assistance with getting the overnight male kit and to receive discounted storage please contact info@tcancer.org / 1-855-390-8231

Why Fertility Preservation

Men who are facing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for testicular cancer, transurethral resection of the prostate, vasectomy surgery or who have high risk occupational exposure to toxic substances should consider long-term freezing of sperm as they are at risk for sterilization, reduction in fertility potential or genetic damage. Many men in contact sports and those in military service also choose sperm banking as a means of preserving fatherhood.

*OverNite Male™ Kit for Cancer Patients

For men seeking to preserve fatherhood, the OverNite Male Kit is by far the most convenient, private and cost-effective method available. The OverNite Male Kit assures that you can securely preserve your specimen within 24 hours of your decision to do so... all from the privacy of your home. Storage provided by Reprotech.

Often times, due to time constraints or geography, men seeking to preserve sperm are not able to get to one our Freezing Centers throughout the country. Often men just feel more comfortable collecting their specimen in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

The OverNite Male™ Kit is the perfect answer to these concerns. OverNite Male gives men the comfort of being able to securely bank their sperm within 24 hours of their decision to do so. You can either order a kit online or by phone. Your Kit will be FedEx’d to your home with next day delivery M-Th if ordered by 1 PM Central Time. The Kit is easy to use and virtually foolproof. Once your specimen is within the storage media, it is now secure and safe for transport. You need only FedEx your kit back using the provided labels and you’ve preserved your hopes for fatherhood.

Your specimen will be processed at the University of Illinois at Chicago Andrology Labs, one of the leading labs of its kind in the world. Your specimens will then be stored at ReproTech Ltd., the leading long term storage cryobank in the world.

Cancer Patients

ReproTech works closely with fertility service centers across the United States to make sperm cryopreservation services available nationwide. While RTL does not provide sperm freezing services, our network of freezing centers do. Once specimens have been preserved, we coordinate the transportation of your frozen semen to RTL for long-term storage.

To locate a sperm freezing center near you, please see the ReproTech Fertility Preservation Network for more information. Sperm banking appointments are available for scheduling within one to three days of your initial call. While it is advantageous for patients to bank all frozen semen specimens prior to beginning therapies that can result in infertility, recent studies have shown that viable samples can be collected in the early stages of some treatments.

Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) and Sperm Freezing

When it is not possible to produce a sperm sample for storage, sperm can often be obtained from a testicular tissue biopsy using a technique called testicular sperm extraction (TESE). In many cases, sperm can be retrieved from the testes of men who have become infertile due to cancer treatments. TESE is a common procedure in many fertility service clinics across the country for adult men, but is less commonly used (and considered experimental) for fertility preservation in adolescent boys. TESE is an outpatient procedure where testicular tissue is surgically removed and frozen for future use. When needed, the testicular tissue is thawed, evaluated, and an attempt is made to locate and retrieve sperm cells, which may be used in combination with Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

Testicular Tissue Freezing for Pre-Pubescent Boys

Sperm banking is not an option for prepubertal boys who are not yet producing sperm. However, these boys do have stem cells in their testes that are poised to begin producing sperm at puberty. Currently there are some experimental studies underway to preserve testicular tissue obtained by biopsy and freeze it for future use. The tissue contains stem cells which will be able to start spermatogenesis (sperm production). Testicular tissue freezing is considered experimental and is generally only offered in a research setting with IRB oversight. Several studies are developing protocols that will enable scientists and physicians to use the frozen/thawed testicular tissue and stem cells to produce sperm in the laboratory or by re-implanting, years later, back into the individual. Research has proven these strategies are effective in animals and it is envisioned that they will also be effective in humans.

Financial Assistance:

Financial Assistance is available to individuals seeking fertility preservation services, please visit this website: http://www.reprotech.com/financial-assistance.html

Note from TCF: The removal of one testicle, coupled with other aspects of treatment, can mean a decrease in fertility. Before undergoing treatment, virtually all testicular cancer patients “bank” sperm, which is like donating to a sperm bank, only the sperm is for your future use. Not all testicular cancer survivors become infertile, but banking sperm is considered good “insurance” to have, just in case. And we strongly recommend this. Contact us if you have more questions about banking sperm If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer, we’re here to support you through it. Please reach out to us at info@tcancer.org or 1-855-390-8231.

ReprotechLogo

Thank you to ReproTech for helping us make this page.

*If you need financial assistance with getting the overnight male kit and to receive discounted storage please contact info@tcancer.org / 1-855-390-8231

August 19, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What do I do if I detect a lump?

When a lump is detected—either by you or a physician—you should seek the opinion of a urologist as soon as possible. A urologist is a physician who has specialized knowledge and skill regarding problems of the male urinary tract and reproductive organs. Urologists usually recommend one or more of the following tests to confirm whether a lump is a sign of testicular cancer:

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound tests use sound waves to help doctors create a “picture” of what’s going on in specific areas of the body. In this case, the ultrasound focuses on the testicles and scrotum, and can determine whether lumps are solid or fluid-filled, and whether they’re on or inside the testicle.
  • Blood Test: We all naturally have what are known as “tumor markers” in our blood. Tumor marker levels tend to be elevated when cancer is present, but they can be elevated for other reasons as well. High tumor marker levels don’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but they can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Testicle Removal (orchiectomy): If your urologist has good reason to believe the lump is cancerous, surgery to remove the testicle may be recommended. This allows further examination and lab testing of the testicle to determine if the lump is indeed cancerous, and if it is, what kind of cancer is in play.[1]
[1] National Cancer Institute, 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/testicular/Patient

August 19, 2016Comments are off for this post.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles. The testicles are 2 egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly below the penis). The testicles are held within the scrotum by the spermatic cord, which also contains the vas deferens and vessels and nerves of the testicles. [2]

The testicles are the male sex glands and produce testosterone and sperm. Germ cells within the testicles produce immature sperm that travel through a network of tubules (tiny tubes) and larger tubes into the epididymis (a long coiled tube next to the testicles) where the sperm mature and are stored. [2]

Almost all testicular cancers start in the germ cells. The two main types of testicular germ cell tumors are seminomas and nonseminomas. These 2 types grow and spread differently and are treated differently. Nonseminomas tend to grow and spread more quickly than seminomas. Seminomas are more sensitive to radiation. A testicular tumor that contains both seminoma and nonseminoma cells is treated as a nonseminoma. [2]

The good news is that it is one of the most treatable and survivable types of cancer. When detected early, 99% percent of guys diagnosed with testicular cancer survive it, and go on to lead normal, active lives.[1]

According to The Testicular Cancer Foundation, the best way for men to be proactive is to do a monthly self-exam of their testicles to check for lumps, hardness or swelling. It’s easy to do in the shower.

[1] National Cancer Institute, 2006. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/testis.html?statfacts_page=testis.html&x=17&y=13

[2] National Cancer Institute, 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/testicular/Patient

August 18, 2016Comments are off for this post.

How does testicular cancer feel?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Detecting testicular cancer can be done through a simple Testicular Cancer Self Exam (TSE). We recommend doing a TSE once a month in the shower – the warm water relaxes your scrotum and makes it easier to feel if there has been a change.

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August 18, 2016Comments are off for this post.

How testicular cancer spreads?

Early detection and treatment is key to preventing the spread of testicular cancer.

When testicular cancer spreads, it most commonly spread to the lung and the lymph nodes of the chest, pelvis, and the base of the neck. More advanced stages may have spread to the liver and bones. Testicular cancer rarely spreads to the brain unless the primary tumor is a choriocarcinoma.

 

Source: Cancer.Net’s Guide to Testicular Cancer (4/2016)

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© 2017 Testicular Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit | Privacy Policy