There are a number of options you may be able to pursue with your stage 1 testicular cancer. For instance, if your cancer is a stage I seminoma, the primary treatment option is the surgical removal of the affected testicle along with the spermatic cord. This procedure is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy.
After the orchietomy, the traditional follow-up is radiation targeting the lymph nodes in that particular region. This is to ensure that any lingering cancerous cells are killed. Cancer of the seminoma germ cells (these are the ones that aid in the production of sperm) are quite susceptible to radiation therapy have a cure rate of around 95% and usually only needs a few treatments.
Doctors rely on a variety of diagnostic tests like the CT scan to show whether or not the testicular cancer has spread to other areas of the body like the lymph nodes. Even when the CT scan does not show cancer, they may prescribe radiation as one in five testicular cancers of this type can spread and are not always detected in the early stages.
Another option for testicular cancer patients with stage I seminoma is to hold off temporarily the radiation therapy after surgery. Doctors would give frequent blood tests and prescribe regular diagnostic tests to check for any recurring cancer.
After a predetermined amount of time, if no cancer reappears outside the testicle area, there are no additional therapies needed. However, during this time, if the cancer is detected, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can then be used. Studies show the wait and see approach versus the immediate radiation after surgery results in similar outcomes.
Chemotherapy is also used as a treatment option for stage I testicular cancer. In some cases, a few courses of chemo are just as effective as several sessions of radiation. The size of your lump or tumor found in your testicle is the basis of what type of medical intervention will be prescribed by your doctor. In addition, it potential to spread, particularly to blood vessels close by is another mitigating factor in choosing a therapy.
Larger lumps or tumors will likely be prescribed chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Smaller lumps or tumors may first start with surgery and then progress to other procedures such as the retro peritoneal lymph node dissection which occurs if the cancer is suspected of spreading. Again, stage I seminoma testicular cancer has quite a high cure rate and as such, each patient is judged on a case by case basis as to the type of treatment called for.
Always, always keep every follow-up appointment with your doctor after the initial testicular cancer treatments. These follow-ups are crucial as blood tests are given as well as other diagnostic tests. These two medical tools are necessary to keep track of not only your recovery rate but also the chance of recurring cancerous cells. By arming yourself with as much information as possible, you can effectively choose the right therapy options that suit your case of stage I testicular cancer.