Treatment of any cancer aims to completely cure the disease, but if this is not possible, your doctor will focus on removing part of the tumour that is growing, thereby preventing the tumour from growing or spreading, increasing life expectancy and maintaining the quality of life. There are many types of treatment options for testicular cancer.
Treatment is decided based on factors such as:
Standard treatment options for testicular cancer include:
Surgery: Surgical treatment to remove the testicle (orchiectomy) is the prime mode of treatment for almost all types and stages of testicular cancer. The testis is removed through an incision in the groin. If the cancer is suspected to have spread to the lymph nodes in the groin, surgery to remove the lymph nodes is also done (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection). In many cases, this surgery is done simultaneously with the surgery to remove your testicle.
Most cases of early-stage testicular cancer need only surgery to cure the disease. All patients, however, are advised to take regular follow-ups as there is always a risk of recurrence of cancer. At these appointments, the doctor will examine you, ask you about your problems or any symptoms and do blood tests, CT scans and other procedures to check for signs that your cancer has returned. Your doctor will recommend a follow up schedule based on the type and stage of cancer. Cases of more advanced testicular cancer or those where the patient does not adhere to the recommended follow-up schedule may be asked to undergo other treatments after surgery.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, uses high-powered energy beams (X-rays or other energy beams) to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation therapy is usually given in the affected area and the cancer cells are treated or destroyed. During external beam radiation, the radiation is given by a machine placed outside your body. The machine directs the beam of radiation to specific points on your body to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy is the preferred treatment for men with seminoma type of testicular cancer. Some cases with nonseminoma type of testicular cancer may also be treated with radiotherapy. Radiotherapy, however, damages normal cells of the body as well and can cause side effects such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and erythema of the skin. These side effects can be distressing, but your doctor will prescribe medications to treat or help control them.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses certain drugs to destroy or kill cancer cells. During chemotherapy, you may be given one, two or more drugs in combination. These medications may be given orally or through your veins (intravenously). Chemotherapy is usually given in men with advanced testicular cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the testis).
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