Learning that you or someone you care for has testicular cancer can be a very overwhelming and frightening experience. From initial diagnosis through to cure or relapse, our Epworth care team are here to support you and your family at every step of the cancer care journey.
Each person living with testicular cancer has individual needs depending on their symptoms, health history and stage of cancer. Our team will proactively adjust the level of emotional and physical care provided to best suit your changing care needs and provide further options of support such as physiotherapy, dietitians, and psychologists as required.
What is testicular cancer?
Though testicular cancer is rare, it is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer for men aged between 20 to 40 years old. Testicular cancer is when cells grow uncontrollably and form cancerous tumours anywhere in the testicles.
What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
Factors that may put you at higher risk of developing testicular cancer include:
- A family history of testicular cancer
What are the common types of testicular cancer?
The main types of testicular cancer include:
- Seminoma testicular cancer
Seminoma is a slow growing cancer which develops in the testicles in men aged between 25 to 40 years old.
- Non-seminoma testicular cancer
Non-seminoma testicle cancer is more common in men aged between 19-30.
- Seminoma testicular cancer
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer
If you have noticed a change, book a consultation with our Epworth specialists today. Catching cancer quickly can save your life.
How to give yourself a testicle exam?
To help you to notice signs and symptoms early, it’s good to become familiar with the look and feel of your testicles.
Symptoms and signs
It's natural for changes to occur to your body as you age or go through stressful life events. However, we encourage you to recognise what is normal for your body and if your concerns are persistent, consult your GP.
Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Painless swelling in one or both testicles
- A lump in the testicle
- A change in the size of one or both testicles
- Back or lower abdomen pain
Notice changes and act quickly
Diagnosing testicular cancer
Screening for testicular cancer
A screening test allows a doctor to routinely check for types of cancer. Unfortunately, there is currently no screening test for testicular cancer.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
Epworth provides you with access to several thorough diagnostic tests to further investigate testicular cancer symptoms and to rule out or diagnose conditions.
To investigate your health concerns, your urologist or doctor may schedule one or several of the following tests:
If you have testicular lumps or swelling, your doctor will likely examine your testicles. We understand you may feel uncomfortable during this examination, but please be reassured that this is a common examination that your doctor has likely performed hundreds of times for their patients.
Blood tests are used to look for three tumour markers, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) which are checked as part of the diagnosis of testicular cancer.
To formally diagnose testicular cancer, your doctor will likely arrange a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue that will be examined under a microscope.
Depending on symptoms, your doctor and care team may schedule imaging tests to assess or diagnose your cancer. Each imaging test provides your care team with a different view of your body. Your doctor may schedule a CT, ultrasound or MRI scan to investigate a testicular lump.
Staging - Investigating the extent of the cancer
Diagnostic tests will allow your care team to establish your cancer as stage 1 to 4. Staging helps your care team and specialists to create a unique treatment plan.
What does my cancer stage mean?
The cancerous tumour is relatively small and the cancer has not yet spread to other tissue.
Cancerous tumour remains relatively localised but has spread to nearby tissue beyond its origin.
Cancer has spread regionally and affected surrounding tissue, and may have grown.
Sometimes called advanced cancer, stage 4 means cancer has spread to other tissue or organs beyond the region where it originated.
Treatment for testicular cancer
We understand that treatment options can be overwhelming. Epworth oncologists and specialists are here to guide and support you to make the best choice for your health.
Testicular cancer treatment at Epworth
Following a diagnosis of testicular cancer, your urologist, oncologist, and cancer care team will create a treatment plan tailored to the specific stage and type of testicular cancer. Your Epworth specialists will discuss the treatment options with you and consider your circumstances and preferences.
Below is an overview of common testicular cancer treatments:
Orchiectomy surgery is a common treatment for testicular cancer and typically takes an hour to perform under general anaesthetic. This surgery aims to stop the cancer from spreading by removing both or one of the testicles.
Chemotherapy for testicular cancer is a common form of treatment that involves the use of anti-cancer drugs to attack cancer cells. If cancer has spread to other organs, chemotherapy is often used alongside testicular cancer surgery.
We understand treatment can have an impact on your self-esteem and sex life. To understand how we support our patients through these challenges, visit our testicular rehabilitation section.
Why choose Epworth for your cancer care?
Epworth HealthCare is Victoria's largest not-for-profit private hospital group, renowned for excellence in diagnosis, treatment, care and rehabilitation. Epworth is an innovator in Australia’s health system, embracing the latest in evidence-based medicine to pioneer treatments and services for our patients.
Supported by excellent facilities, we integrate clinical practice with education and research to deliver outstanding patient care, each and every day.
Testicular cancer rehabilitation
Who is the program for?
Our cancer rehabilitation program is designed for anyone diagnosed with testicular cancer at any time from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.
Rehabilitation doesn't start after your treatment has ended. You may benefit from our holistic rehabilitation programs at any time throughout your cancer journey. Our programs can support you to physically and emotionally prepare for treatment and restore your strength and wellbeing.
What does the cancer rehabilitation program involve?
Before you start
You will meet a rehabilitation doctor and allied health team for a medical, psychosocial, and physical assessment.
Everyone's cancer care journey is different. The assessments will help the team understand your specific needs to develop the right program for you. You will work with the team to develop goals to work towards throughout the program.
During the program
Depending on your assessment and individual needs, you may complete your program:
- as part of a group, with other people, who have been diagnosed with varying cancers
- on your own
Most people will attend as an outpatient, coming to hospital for a few hours once or twice a week, over several weeks. Some people may need to stay overnight in hospital and complete a program over several consecutive days.
Either way, you will receive the same support from our team to address your physical, functional and emotional needs.
Your program may include:
- A physical exercise component to help restore movement, strength and fitness
- An educational component where you will learn about different areas associated with your cancer diagnosis and treatment and how to manage them, including:
- emotional wellbeing
- body image and self-esteem
- work or family challenges
- late-onset of side effects.
At the end of your program
Our rehabilitation team will keep in touch with your referring doctor and/or treating team throughout the program and our team will keep them informed about your progress.
They will also connect you to local services and support networks so you can leave our program with the strength and confidence to live life to your fullest potential.
Who will support me during the rehabilitation program?
Depending on your needs, you may see some or all of our multidisciplinary team which includes:
- Rehabilitation specialist doctor
- Cancer nurse
- Exercise physiologist
- Social worker
- Occupational therapist
How can I access a rehabilitation program?
A referral from your specialist or GP is required to participate.
If you have any questions about our cancer rehabilitation programs, call us on: 1300 345 600.
Life after testicular cancer treatment
Life after testicular cancer treatment can pose its own challenges but our Epworth specialists are here to support you.
Life after treatment
Life after testicular cancer treatment can be a mixture of emotions. You may not 'bounce back' as quickly as you like, but be kind to yourself and start making plans with your family or carers.
- You may still feel fatigued for a while after finishing treatment.
- If required, make an advanced care plan.
- Ask for help. If your body has changed due to treatment, remember help is out there to support you to feel your best and regain your sense of identity and self-esteem. Speak with your care team about options to support your general wellbeing after treatment.
Your fertility may be affected by testicular cancer treatment. To learn more about managing fertility changes or how testicular cancer treatment can impact fertility, please visit Cancer Council.