Diagnosing Testicular Cancer

Support Throughout the Diagnostic Process

Our physicians, nurses and support staff are here to advise you, listen to you and calm your fears. Your physicians will explain your diagnosis and compassionately offer suggestions for treatment and care. Their job is to help you.

Also available for counsel, support and guidance are nurse coordinators, oncology social workers and a pastoral team. They’ll help you navigate through the system and provide additional assistance, including:

  • Social support
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advice
  • Tips on coping

Call on them. They’re here for you.

Testicular cancer is rare and unusual: It often has symptoms and it often strikes young men.

With the aid of the precise imaging equipment available at Scott & White and our specially trained diagnosticians, we can help find your testicular cancer early, when cure is most likely. The Scott & White Testicular Cancer Team is expert at locating, diagnosing and identifying testicular tumors.

Our acclaimed staff at Scott & White knows a diagnosis of testicular cancer can be overwhelming. Our premier genitourinary oncologists, nurses and support team compassionately provide you with the most advanced care available throughout the diagnostic process.

Early-stage testicular cancer — unlike many other cancers — often causes symptoms for which many men seek medical help. In some cases, however, some testicular tumors don’t cause symptoms and may not be discovered until they reach an advanced stage.

The American Cancer Society makes the following recommendations regarding detection and screening for testicular cancer:

  • Testicular exam as part of your annual physical exam
  • Monthly testicular self-exams for all post-pubescent men

Testicular Self-Exam

The American Cancer Society recommends that you examine your testicles after your bath or shower, when the skin on your scrotum is relaxed:

  • Hold the penis out of the way and examine each testicle separately.
  • Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between the fingers.
  • Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth, rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape or consistency of the testicle.

A normal testicle has an epididymis, which is a small bump on the upper part of your testicle. If you are concerned about this lump, or any lumps, contact your physician.

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Testicular Cancer Diagnostic Services

At Scott & White Healthcare, we use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to help identify your tumors with clarity and precision.

If your physician suspects you may have testicular cancer, he or she may recommend one or more of the following tests.

Physical Exams and Laboratory Tests

  • Physical examination and history. Your physician will begin with a thorough physical exam and medical history.
  • Serum tumor marker tests. A tumor marker is a substance that may be found in a tumor or released from a tumor into your blood or other body fluids. A high level of a tumor marker may note the presence of a certain type of testicular cancer.
    • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – elevated levels may indicate a non-seminoma tumor
    • Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) – elevated levels may indicate a seminoma tumor or a non-seminoma tumor
    • Lactic deydrogenase (LDH) – elevated levels may indicate widespread disease

Your physician may use the results of the tumor marker tests to:

  • Determine how much cancer you have
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment
  • Determine whether your cancer has returned

Imaging Tests

Your physician may order one or more of the following imaging tests to check for signs of disease or determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body:

  • Ultrasound of the scrotum
  • Abdominal and pelvic CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Chest X-ray
  • Bone scan

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