How is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?

When a lump is detected—either by you or a physician—you should seek the opinion of a urologist as soon as possible. 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