Testicular Cancer

Treatment

There are treatments for all patients with testicular cancer, and most patients can be cured with available treatments. Four kinds of testicular cancer treatment are used:

  • surgery (taking out the testicular cancer in an operation)

  • radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill the testicular cancer cells)

  • chemotherapy (using drugs to kill the testicular cancer cells)

  • bone marrow transplantation

Surgery is a common treatment of most stages of testicular cancer. A doctor may take out the cancer by removing one or both testicles through an incision (cut) in the groin. This is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy. Some of the lymph nodes in the abdomen may also be removed (lymph node dissection).

Radiation therapy uses x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy for testicular cancer usually comes from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation).

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in a vein. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drugs enter the bloodstream, travel through the body, and can kill cancer cells outside the testicle.

Bone marrow transplantation is a newer type of testicular cancer treatment. For autologous bone marrow transplant, bone marrow is taken from the patient and treated with drugs to kill any cancer cells. The marrow is then frozen and the patient is then given high-dose chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy to destroy all of the remaining marrow. The marrow that was taken out is then thawed and given back to the patient through a needle in a vein to replace the marrow that was destroyed.

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