Our Treatment Approach to Testicular Cancer
City of Hope has one of the most renowned testicular cancer programs in the United States, with a multidisciplinary team of medical experts across different fields including surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology and supportive care medicine. Together, they work collaboratively to plan and implement a treatment regimen that is individually tailored to the patient to improve survival chances, enhance outcomes, minimize side effects and boost quality of life.

Surgery

Orchiectomy, or surgical removal of the cancerous testicle(s), is typically the first treatment for testicular cancer and is often curative for early stage patients. For patients with advanced testicular cancer, more extensive procedures (such as removal of nearby lymph nodes) may be necessary, but surgery can still significantly improve survival odds. In order to preserve fertility and reproductive options, patients can bank their sperm before surgery
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City of Hope’s surgeons specialize in minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures to treat testicular cancers. By using smaller incisions compared to an open procedure, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have post-surgical complications.
 
The expertise of City of Hope’s surgeons also means that they can treat and remove tumors while minimizing likelihood and intensity of side effects. This is done through advanced procedures that can navigate around sensitive tissues (such as blood vessels and nerves that are crucial for urinary and sexual functions,) as well as a specialized plastic surgery team that can perform reconstructive procedures to maintain or restore appearance.
 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation may be to treat any cancer cells that may remain after testicular cancer surgery. It may also be used to improve quality of life by relieving symptoms and stopping bleeds.
 
In addition to standard radiation regimens, City of Hope also offers Helical TomoTherapy, an advance technology combining radiation delivery with advanced imaging. This allows the radiation beams to be “sculpted” to the tumor’s size and shape, resulting in more focused radiation on the cancer site while minimizing exposure to adjacent tissues and organs. This can reduce the likelihood and severity of side effects.
 

Drug Therapy

City of Hope uses a wide range of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs to treat advanced or recurrent testicular cancer. In addition to standard drug regimens, patients have access to newly developed drugs (or drug combinations) through our clinical trials program.
 
Cancer fighting drugs can also enhance the effectiveness of surgery and can be administered after the procedure to minimize the chance of recurrence. It may also be given alongside radiation therapy to enhance the cancer-fighting effectiveness of both (chemoradiation.)
 
As part of the treatment team, a medical oncologist will evaluate the patient’s cancer, health and other factors, so that the chemotherapy, if appropriate, can be tailored to the patient throughout the continuum of care.
 

Stem Cell / Bone Marrow Transplant

Patients with advanced or recurrent testicular cancer may need to be treated with high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. In this procedure, the patient’s own blood-forming stem cells are harvested and stored, and then the patient is given a potent dose of cancer fighting drugs. After the treatment, the stored stem cells are re-infused to restore the patient’s bone marrow (which may be damaged or destroyed by the high-dose chemotherapy.)
 
City of Hope is an experienced leader in the use of stem cell transplants to treat cancer, having performed more than 12,000 transplants since the program began in 1976. The program has also been ranked as an “over-performing” transplant center based on survival outcomes data.
 

Active Surveillance

Some testicular cancers may not require immediate treatment. Since aggressive therapy may be disruptive to quality of life (e.g. potential urinary, reproductive or sexual side effects), patients diagnosed with early stage, slow-growing testicular cancer may opt for active surveillance instead. This involves regularly meeting with the care team to monitor for signs of disease progression, such as abnormal hormone levels, and beginning treatment once the cancer starts exhibiting signs of growth or spread.
 
Active surveillance may also be an option for early-stage testicular patients who have undergone surgery but would like to avoid subsequent radiation or chemotherapy.

Become a Patient

If you have been diagnosed with a testicular cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about becoming a patient by calling 800-826-HOPE or filling out the Request a New Patient Appointment Online form.