Your treatment will be planned by a team of specialists (known as a multidisciplinary team) who work together to decide which treatment is best for you.
Multidisciplinary team (MDT)
The multidisciplinary team usually includes:
a surgeon who specialises in testicular surgery
oncologists – doctors who have experience in testicular cancer treatment using chemotherapy and radiotherapy
a specialist nurse who gives information and support
a radiologist who analyses scans and x-rays
a pathologist who examines cells under the microscope and advises on the type and extent of the cancer.
The MDT may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a:
psychologist or counsellor
The benefits and disadvantages of treatment
Many people are frightened at the idea of having cancer treatments because of the side effects that can occur. Your doctor and nurse will give you information on ways of coping with different side effects. Many side effects can be controlled with medicines.
In testicular cancer the aim of treatment is to cure the cancer. In men with early testicular cancer (stage 1), surgery may cure the cancer on its own. Often adjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy is given to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Some men may be concerned about having adjuvant treatment that may not have been needed and which has side effects. Other men may want to have any treatment that reduces the risk of the cancer coming back. It’s important that you have all the information you need so that you can make the right choice for you. If early testicular cancer comes back it can usually still be cured in most men.
Testicular cancer which has spread outside the testicle can still usually be cured. Even if it is very advanced or comes back after initial treatment, intensive chemotherapy is given, which aims to cure the cancer.
Rarely, very advanced testicular cancer may not respond well to treatment, or may continue to come back despite treatment. Treatment can be given to help control the cancer, and improve symptoms and quality of life. Occasionally this may have little effect on the cancer and men will have side effects without the benefit of treatment. Making decisions about treatment in these circumstances is always difficult and you may need to talk it over with your doctor and family. If you choose not to have treatment for the cancer you can still be given treatment to control any symptoms.
For more on planning your treatment, you may find it helpful to read our information on: