Testicular Cancer Diagnosis
Your WellStar physician will perform a physical exam and might order several diagnostic tests, including:
- Blood tests that measure "tumor markers," such as AFP and Beta HCG. Tumor markers are substances often found in higher-than-normal amounts in the blood.
- Ultrasound, a test in which high-frequency sound waves are bounced off internal organs and tissues. Their echoes produce an image called a sonogram. Ultrasound of the scrotum can show the presence and size of a mass in the testicle. It is also helpful in ruling out other conditions, such as swelling due to infection or a collection of fluid unrelated to cancer.
- Biopsy, a procedure conducted in nearly all cases of suspected cancer, with the entire affected testicle is removed. This procedure is called radical inguinal orchiectomy. In rare cases (for example, when a man has only one testicle), the surgeon performs an inguinal biopsy, removing a sample of tissue from the testicle through an incision in the groin and proceeding with orchiectomy only if the pathologist finds cancer cells.
Testicular Cancer Stages
When testicular cancer is diagnosed, your WellStar physician will categorize it by the current stage. Each stage describes the progression of the disease and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. You should talk to your WellStar physician to understand each stage, and what it means for your treatment plan.