After the cancer has been diagnosed and staged, your provider will talk to you about your treatment options. 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, your age and general health, and how you feel about the treatment options and their side effects.
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. When treating testicular cancer, radiation is used primarily to destroy cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes. Radiation therapy for testicular cancer is external radiation, meaning the treatment is administered by a focused beam of radiation from a machine outside of the body. 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.
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.
Your provider will discuss your treatment options with you, and refer you to specialists when necessary. It’s important that you share your concerns with your provider when considering the treatment options available to you.