There are a variety of methods used to treat testicular cancer. The choice depends on many factors, including whether or not the cancer has spread, the patient's age and general health, and how they feel about the treatment options and their side effects. Dr. Patel, what can you tell us about treating testicular cancer?
Well, Dr. Green, the three most commonly used methods for treating testicular cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Surgery is used to remove the cancerous testicle or, in some cases, both testicles. This procedure is known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells, especially cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes. External radiation therapy, which uses a focused beam of radiation from a machine outside of the body, is the only type of radiation therapy used for testicular cancer. Generally, treatment of testicular cancer uses lower doses of radiation than those needed for other types of cancer. If one testicle requires treatment, a special shield is used to protect the healthy testicle. Seminomas are particularly sensitive to radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy uses special drugs to destroy cancer cells. Usually the drugs are given intravenously, although some chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally. Chemotherapy is effective in destroying cancer cells that have metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body.