Orchiectomy, or surgical removal of the cancerous testicle(s), is typically the first treatment for testicular cancer and is often curative for early stage patients. For patients with advanced testicular cancer, more extensive procedures (such as removal of nearby lymph nodes) may be necessary, but surgery can still significantly improve survival odds. In order to preserve fertility and reproductive options, patients can bank their sperm before surgery
City of Hope’s surgeons specialize in
minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures
to treat testicular cancers. By using smaller incisions compared to an open procedure, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have post-surgical complications.
The expertise of City of Hope’s surgeons also means that they can treat and remove tumors while minimizing likelihood and intensity of side effects. This is done through advanced procedures that can navigate around sensitive tissues (such as blood vessels and nerves that are crucial for urinary and sexual functions,) as well as a specialized
plastic surgery team
that can perform reconstructive procedures to maintain or restore appearance.
City of Hope uses a wide range of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs to treat advanced or recurrent testicular cancer. In addition to standard drug regimens, patients have access to newly developed drugs (or drug combinations) through our
clinical trials program.
Cancer fighting drugs can also enhance the effectiveness of surgery and can be administered after the procedure to minimize the chance of recurrence. It may also be given alongside radiation therapy to enhance the cancer-fighting effectiveness of both (chemoradiation.)
As part of the treatment team, a
will evaluate the patient’s cancer, health and other factors, so that the chemotherapy, if appropriate, can be tailored to the patient throughout the continuum of care.
Patients with advanced or recurrent testicular cancer may need to be treated with high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. In this procedure, the patient’s own blood-forming stem cells are harvested and stored, and then the patient is given a potent dose of cancer fighting drugs. After the treatment, the stored stem cells are re-infused to restore the patient’s bone marrow (which may be damaged or destroyed by the high-dose chemotherapy.)
Some testicular cancers may not require immediate treatment. Since aggressive therapy may be disruptive to quality of life (e.g. potential urinary, reproductive or sexual side effects), patients diagnosed with early stage, slow-growing testicular cancer may opt for active surveillance instead. This involves regularly meeting with the care team to monitor for signs of disease progression, such as abnormal hormone levels, and beginning treatment once the cancer starts exhibiting signs of growth or spread.
Active surveillance may also be an option for early-stage testicular patients who have undergone surgery but would like to avoid subsequent radiation or chemotherapy.