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Testicular Cancer

What About Follow-Up Care?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 15:16

Regular follow-up examinations are extremely important for anyone who has been treated for testicular cancer.

After treatment:

  • The doctor will monitor the man for several years to be sure the cancer has been completely eliminated. If the cancer does recur, it is extremely important to detect it immediately and start additional treatment.
  • Follow-up care varies, depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer. As a general rule, men are examined every month for the first two years after diagnosis and treatment.
  • Follow-up exams usually include x-rays and various scans, and blood tests to measure tumor marker levels.
  • After the two-year period has passed, check-ups may be reduced to one or two times a year.
  • Testicular cancer seldom recurs after a man has been tested free of the disease for three years.

"Surveillance" After Surgery

Some physicians recommend observation after surgery-waiting to see if there is a relapse-before starting any further treatment. This approach is usually followed when:

  • Diagnosis was a nonseminoma
  • There was no sign of cancer spread beyond the testicle

When the main tumor is removed early, testicular cancer has a high cure rate even if there is a relapse. So there may be no clear advantage (and obvious disadvantages) to treatment if there is no evidence the disease has spread.

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