Cancer of the Testicle (cont.)
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Testicular Cancer Diagnosis
Many medical conditions can cause the symptoms or physical findings of testicular cancer. On hearing the symptoms, or finding a lump, swelling, or other change on physical examination, the health-care provider will develop a list of possible causes. He or she will then do a systematic evaluation to try to pinpoint the diagnosis. The provider often starts by asking questions about the person's symptoms, medical and surgical history, lifestyle and habits, and any drugs or medications the person takes.
The next step, in most instances, should be an ultrasound of the scrotum.
Patients will probably have blood drawn for lab tests listed below.
Some individuals may have their urine tested for signs of damage to the organs of the urinary tract, which are closely related to the reproductive organs.
Tumor stage is a critical measure of how much the cancer has spread. Knowing the stage is important because it guides treatment. Preliminary staging is based on the results of the imaging studies and lab tests. Testicular cancer typically spreads in a step-by-step fashion. If it spreads from the testicle, the first place it typically goes is in the area near the kidneys, called the retroperitoneum. It then can spread to the lungs, brain, or liver.
Many experts also break testicular tumors down into "good-risk" and "poor-risk" groups.
Staging can only be estimated from imaging studies and tumor markers. The only way to confirm the diagnosis of testicular cancer is through surgical removal of suspected tumor tissue that is biopsied. It is not recommended that a needle be put through the scrotum into the testicle. That can cause abnormal patterns of spread of a testicular cancer. It is best to remove the testicle in question. The other testicle will continue to work and the patient will still make enough sperm and male hormone to function normally.; often it means that a testicle is removed. Some men with testicular cancer have low sperm counts already and this can be tested for, or may already be recognized in the patient from earlier evaluations..
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/18/2016
Scott E Eggener, MD
Steven C Campbell, MD, PhD
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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