Surveillance (monitoring) of testicular cancer
If the risk of your cancer coming back after your operation is very low, your doctor may recommend that you have surveillance or monitoring.
This is to look for signs of the cancer coming back so that it can be found and treated early, when it’s easier to cure. It means you avoid having adjuvant treatment that may not be necessary for you.
You won’t have any treatment unless your tumour marker levels increase or scans show that the cancer has come back.
It’s extremely important to go to these surveillance appointments. If the cancer does come back (this only happens in a small number of men), it will be picked up when it’s small and can be cured by treatment. Men whose cancer comes back during surveillance will need a longer course of chemotherapy.
What to expect
Your specialist will tell you what kind of monitoring you’ll have. If your cancer produces tumour markers, these will usually be measured every month. You’ll also have regular chest x-rays and occasional CT scans.
Over time, as the risk of the cancer coming back decreases, your appointments and tests will be less frequent.
Your specialist will also do a physical examination, check your other testicle, and ask you questions about how you’ve been feeling. Always let your doctor know if you’re having problems with new or ongoing symptoms, or if you’re having emotional or sexual difficulties. This helps them to assess you properly and give you the best care and support. It’s also an important way of being involved in your own healthcare.