Is Testicular Surgery Right for You?

Testicular cancer in the most prevalent type of cancer in younger men, aged 15 through 35.  Luckily with early detection and treatment, about 96-99 percent of patients with testicular cancer survive this diagnosis and remain cancer free for 5 or many more years after.    

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Even when testicular cancer is caught in more advanced stages, the cure rate is still very high.  Although testicular cancer is relatively curable, treatment can still be a difficult decision. 

Should I be doing surgery? Radiation? Chemotherapy? 

Testicular Cancer Surgery

Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher what the best treatment option is for you. Fortunately, for those with testicular cancer the answer is pretty straight forward. Typically, all testicular cancers, even more advanced cases, are treated with surgery.  The type of surgery is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy, where the testicle containing cancer is removed completely.  An incision is made above the pubic area and the testicle is removed from the scrotum (the sac containing the testicles). One of the big questions on every man’s mind, especially heading into surgery, is “how will this affect my life”?  On the up side, the removal of a testicle has no effect on a man’s ability to have sex or get an erection.  One of the downsides is it may affect your ability to conceive children.  With only one testicle, only half the sperm cells are being produced, decreasing fertility. 

If both testicles are removed, then fertility declines to nonexistent. Without the testicles to produce sperm cells, conception is not possible.  Additionally, if both testicles have been removed due to cancer, testosterone also declines and can cause the common side effects of testosterone deficiency.  

These include, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, hot flashes, and loss of muscle massAlthough there has been some debate as to the efficacy of regular self-exams, and their ability to reduce the death rate of testicular cancer, men should be aware of changes in their body and try to stay one step ahead of the illness.  Regular exams of course are a personal choice, but men should decide for themselves whether or not to do them regardless of popular opinion or government guidelines. 

Key Testicular Cancer Facts:

Main symptoms:

  • Painless lump usually detected by the patient himself
  • Causes
  • Undescended testicleso  
  • Klinefelter syndromeo  
  • Abnormal testicular development      

Diagnostic Tests: Once lump is detected

  • Ultrasound
  •  Blood test for tumor markers – AFP and HCG
  • Biopsy

Treatment: Depends on type of testicular tumor and stage of the tumor, but usually surgery  

  • Surgery   
  • Radiation  
  • Chemotherapy.