Often, a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy is used to treat testicular cancer.
As discussed in the Testing section of this article, surgical removal of the testicle is often done to establish a diagnosis of testicular cancer. This treats the cancer as well. Depending on the type and extent (stage) of the cancer, lymph nodes may be surgically removed from the abdomen at the same time that the testicle is removed or during a second procedure.
Radiation therapy is a common follow-up to surgery, especially for seminomas. These tumors are likely to be destroyed by radiation, while nonseminomas are not. The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy any cancer that may be growing in lymph nodes in the abdomen.
Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to destroy cancer cells that could have been left behind. In some cases, it is used to shrink large tumors before surgery. Chemotherapy is an important treatment for cancer that has spread beyond the testicle or has a high risk for recurrence.
Research is ongoing to improve testicular cancer treatments. For example, certain changes in DNA (mutations) have been found in testicular cancers that do not respond well to chemotherapy. These findings may help to identify patients who will not benefit from chemotherapy. Further, this information could lead to the development of new drugs to treat testicular cancer by targeting specific mutations.
Every person who is diagnosed with cancer faces difficult decisions. A diagnosis of testicular cancer comes with added concerns about how treatment could affect a man's physical appearance, sex drive, sexual performance, and ability to father children. For more information about testicular cancer treatments, including clinical trials, visit the National Cancer Institute's website, the American Cancer Society's website, or Cancer.Net.