Treatment

Treatments

Patients with testicular cancer are usually treated with surgery and follow-up chemotherapy and/or radiation. At Siteman, each cancer has a wide range of treatments that can be used alone or in combination to give the best outcome for your specific cancer, including standard therapies and novel therapies only available in clinical trials. That’s why careful diagnosis is so important.

As part of a research medical center, physicians at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have access to a wide range of clinical trials to test new therapies as they emerge. Many of our physicians are principle investigators in these trials, which cover medical, surgical, and radiation therapies.

Certain treatments for testicular cancer can cause infertility that may be permanent. Because most testicular cancer patients are young, those who may wish to have children should consider sperm banking before having treatment.

Surgery

Surgery to remove the testicle (inguinal orchiectomy) and some of the lymph nodes may have been done at diagnosis and staging. Patients at Stage 1 are cured with removal of the testicle 85 percent of the time, without chemotherapy.

Tumors that have spread to other places in the body may be partly or entirely removed by surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Most testicular cancers will be cured with surgery and chemotherapy. One type of testicular cancer, seminoma, may be treated with radiation following surgery with a cure rate that can approach 98 percent. This cancer should be managed by a multidisciplinary team of urologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists so the patient clearly understands his options and the pros and cons of each management approach.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs, either orally or intravenously to kill cancer cells. Recently, several new drugs have increased the options for physicians treating patients with prostate cancer. Therapy that falls under medical treatment has a wide range of approaches, including timing of treatment. It can be given before or after surgery, in conjunction with radiation or by itself.

Good or intermediate risk patients are often cured with chemotherapy after the testicle is removed.

Some patients may benefit from stem cell transplant as part of a clinical trial. Patients who have not been cured after two lines of chemotherapy are sometimes cured by this.

Different combinations of therapies may be used depending on the stage of the cancer and the health of the patient. New combinations of therapies are always being tested in clinical trials and are available at Siteman Cancer Center before other places may have access to them.