How is testicular cancer diagnosed?

Most cases are found by a patient who finds a lump. We’ll do an ultrasound and blood tests.

Depending on the results of the ultrasound and blood test, we might remove a testicle (orchiectomy). We’ll study the cells in the lump to determine the type and stage of the cancer. There are two kinds of testicular cancer. Seminomas grow and spread slowly and usually occur in men between the ages of 25 and 45. Non-seminomas grow quickly and are more difficult to treat. They appear in men in their late teens and early 30s.

A CT scan of the abdomen and chest allows us to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Here’s one thing we do not do: There is a fairly well-known old wives tale about using pregnancy tests to detect testicular cancer. That is not good medicine and men should not take a pregnancy test to check for testicular cancer. Pregnancy tests can detect a hormone produced by some testicular cancers but not all of them. A urine test can miss many forms of testicular cancer.

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