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.

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 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)

August 18, 2016No Comments

Why testicular cancer is caused?

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your
doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The following factors can raise a man’s risk of developing testicular cancer. However, it is important to note that the cause of testicular cancer is not known.

  • Age: More than half of testicular cancer diagnoses occur in men between the ages of 20 and 45. However, men of any age can develop this disease, including men in their teens and in their 60s, so it is important that any man with symptoms of
    testicular cancer visit the doctor.
  • Cryptorchidism: Cryptorchidism is an undescended testicle, meaning that one or
    both testicles do not move down into the scrotum before birth as they should. Men with this condition have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer. This risk may be lowered if surgery is used to correct the condition before the boy
    reaches puberty. Some doctors recommend surgery for cryptorchidism when a boy is between six and 15 months to reduce the risk of infertility. Infertility is the inability to produce children. Because cryptorchidism is often corrected at a
    young age, many men may not know if they had the condition. Family history. A man who has a close relative, particularly a brother, who has had testicular cancer has an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • Personal history: Men who have had cancer in one testicle have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. It is estimated that out of every 100 men with testicular cancer, two will develop cancer in the other testicle. 
  • Race: Although men of any race can develop testicular cancer, white men are more likely than men of other races to be diagnosed with testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is rare in black men. However, black men with testicular cancer are more likely to die of the cancer than white men, particularly if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body when it is diagnosed.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection: Men with HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by the HIV virus have a slightly higher risk of developing seminoma.

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

August 18, 2016No Comments

What testicular cancer feels like?

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.

August 18, 2016No Comments

What are Testicular Cancer Symptoms?

The most common signs of testicular cancer are lumps, swelling and/or pain in a testicle or in your scrotum. Usually lumps are painless or mildly uncomfortable, so don’t wait to feel pain before seeing a urologist or family doctor. Swelling or enlargement of a testicle or your scrotum can happen without a lump present, so if you’re experiencing anything out of the ordinary, you should have it checked out by a urologist or see your family doctor. [1]

It’s important to know that some of the common symptoms of testicular cancer may not mean you actually have a cancer diagnosis. That said, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommend you see a urologist or doctor immediately .

If left unchecked, testicular cancer can spread to other parts of the body working its way up your torso.  If it spreads some guys will feel pain in their lower backs as it moves to their lymph nodes. If it reaches the lungs, symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough—eventually coughing up blood—can occur. [1]

Don’t wait for symptoms to worsen before you see your doctor. Even if you have testicular cancer, an early diagnosis can save your life.

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

August 18, 2016No Comments

What is Treatment Like?

Treatment of testicular cancer can vary. The stage of the cancer (how far along it is), whether it’s spread to other parts of the body, tumor size, family history and personal medical history all affect how treatment is approached.[2] We can’t stress this enough: the sooner you start working with a doctor, the easier your treatment and recovery—as well as your chances for survival—are likely to be. In general, though, a urologist will recommend one or more of these treatment options:

Surgery (orchiectomy) : Surgery to remove the affected testicle, and sometimes some of the lymph nodes, is usually the first step. Lab tests will determine the type and stage of cancer at hand, and will help a doctor determine if additional treatments are necessary.

Radiation: High-energy X-rays or other types of radiation are used to kill cancer cells. External radiation directs radiation toward the cancer from outside the body. Internal radiation delivers radiation directly into or near the cancer.

Chemotherapy: Powerful, cancer-killing drugs are used to stop the cancer from growing, either by killing the cancer cells or stopping them from dividing.

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12600 Hill Country Blvd, Suite R-270 Austin, TX 78738 • info@tcancer.org • 855-390-8231

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