The term ‘prognosis’ means the outlook of the cancer i.e. its chance of recovery or recurrence (return of the cancer). Knowing the prognosis or what the future holds is important for the patient and the family as it helps them understand the disease, handle the disease and live with it better. It can allow the patient to make decisions on important issues such as appropriate treatment, lifestyle changes and finances.
Some important factors that influence the prognosis of testicular cancer are:
Your doctor will base the facts of prognosis on information obtained from studies done in many patients (hundreds or even thousands) over the years with similar type of cancer. Prognosis is considered to be favourable or good if the cancer is diagnosed in its early stages and is likely to respond to treatment. The prognosis is said to be poor or unfavorable if the treatment is difficult.
According to studies on cancer, prognosis and the 5 year survival rate is affected by the stage of cancer. Survival rates of a cancer indicate the proportion of people with a certain type and stage of cancer, who live for a specific period of time after diagnosis. The five-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people with the disease, who are still alive five years after diagnosis (factors such as signs or symptoms of cancer, presence or absence of disease or treatment are not considered). When the 5 year survival rate is considered, it does not mean you will only live for 5 years.
Prognosis of testicular cancer in general: On an average, the prognosis of testicular cancer is very good. Overall, the ten year survival rate of all the men diagnosed with testicular cancer is about 98% (98 out of 100 men live for at least 10 years after diagnosis).
Prognosis of seminoma testicular cancer: Seminomas are one of the most curable cancers in human beings even if it has already metastasized (spread to other parts of the body or lymph nodes when diagnosed). Studies show that most cases with stage 1 and stage 2 seminomas are curable; more than 95% men with stage 1 seminoma are cured and about 85 to 90% of men with stage 2 seminoma are cured.
Prognosis of non-seminoma testicular cancer: Prognosis of non-seminoma testicular cancer is also good. Data shows that more than 95% of men with stage 1 non seminoma testicular cancer can be cured and about 70% with stage 3 non-seminoma testicular cancer are cured.
Outlook for testicular cancer that has spread: Outlook of cancer that has spread beyond testis is defined as 'good prognosis', 'intermediate prognosis' or 'poor prognosis'. Five year survival of the different categories of testicular cancer (combined for seminoma and non seminoma cancers) is as follows:
Remember that prognosis is only a possible prediction and not an absolute outcome for a particular patient. Your doctor will be the best person to tell you the prognosis.