Surgery is often the primary treatment used for testicular cancer. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us about this treatment option?
Of course, Dr. Reynolds. During surgery to treat testicular cancer, one or both testicles may be removed from the scrotum through an incision in the groin. The spermatic cord that attaches the testicle to the body is cut and tied off to prevent the spread of cancer cells. This procedure is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy. It's important to note that if both testicles are removed, a man will no longer produce sperm and will not be able to have children.
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, some lymph nodes in the abdomen may also need to be removed. This can be combined with the removal of the testicle, or performed at a later time, depending on the particular circumstances. This procedure, called retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, can be a major operation because a large incision is often required to remove the lymph nodes.
To preserve fertility, a type of retroperitoneal lymph node surgery called nerve-sparing surgery may be recommended. The goal of nerve-sparing surgery is to preserve the nerves to allow for normal ejaculation.
In some cases, lymph nodes can be removed through smaller incisions in the abdomen by using a narrow lighted tube called a laparoscope.