Specialists in Duke’s nationally ranked urology and cancer programs use the latest medical and surgical techniques to treat testicular cancer and preserve as much normal function as possible. We are experts at nerve-sparing surgery, a procedure that can stop cancer from spreading while retaining your ability to have children.
Nationally ranked testicular cancer care
If you are concerned about testicular cancer, the first thing you should know is that it’s highly treatable and very curable. Since it often occurs in young men, being able to preserve your child-bearing abilities is an important concern. Our experienced medical team ensures you receive the best care that results in effectively treating your cancer and preserving your ability to reproduce.
We treat a high volume of men with testicular cancer, ranging from basic, early-stage tumors to complex and advanced cases. Our testicular cancer care combines the knowledge and expertise of our nationally ranked urology and cancer programs. We use advanced imaging to determine the type of testicular cancer you have, and recommend the best course of treatment. If your cancer has spread, chemotherapy is usually required. If residual tumors remain after chemotherapy, our skilled surgical oncologists precisely remove lymph nodes using a surgical procedure that spares the nerves that control ejaculation. We are also expertly equipped to perform a stem cell transplant if needed for advanced testicular cancer that does not respond to conventional chemotherapy. We do everything possible to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome, and return you to normal, healthy living as soon as possible.
Choose Duke for your testicular cancer care because we offer:
- National reputation. Our testicular cancer program combines two top-ranked teams. We are among the top 10 hospitals in the country in urologic surgery, according to U.S. News & World Report. Our cancer program is ranked among the best nationwide. Duke is one of a select few National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers.
- Nerve-sparing surgery. We know testicular cancer can alarm young men who want to father children. If your cancer must be surgically removed, we offer nerve-sparing surgery to eligible men, which helps maintain normal ejaculation.
- Testicular cancer thought leaders. We are part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving cancer care. We have representation on an NCCN panel responsible for developing the best evidenced-based methods for managing testicular cancer.
- An expert team dedicated to your care. Your testicular cancer care team includes specialists in testicular and urologic cancer, including urologic oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our experts meet routinely to discuss our patient's care. This ensures you receive the most effective treatments.
- Highly trained specialists. Our urologic oncologists are fellowship trained, meaning they studied an additional two to three years to become experts in urologic oncology. Our medical oncologists are fellowship trained in genitourinary cancer, which includes testicular cancer.
- Comforting environment. Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
- Support for you and your loved ones. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.
Depending on the stage and type of your testicular cancer, your doctors may recommend one or more of the following treatment options.
If cancer is found in its earliest stages, or has not spread beyond your testicle or testicles, your doctor may recommend that treatment not start immediately. Instead, you will undergo regular physical exams, including blood work and imaging scans designed to look for signs that the cancer has changed or spread.
Prevents tumors from spreading or used to treat testicular cancer that has already spread outside the testicle or testicles. It may be combined with surgery or radiation.
Surgical removal of one or both testicles, depending on the presence of cancer, as well as the spermatic cord through an abdominal incision. This procedure is the initial treatment for all stages of testicular cancer. Many times, it is the only treatment required. You may choose to have a prosthetic testicle filled with saline inserted during the procedure or at a later date to attain the look of a normal testicle.
Removes the lymph nodes in your retroperitoneum (the space in the back of your abdomen that holds your kidneys and pancreas) through an abdominal incision. The nerve-sparing surgery is performed by urologic surgeons who are specially trained in vascular techniques. The surgery prevents the cancer from spreading to other areas of your body, and protects nerves located near the lymph nodes that control ejaculation.
Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) removes lymph nodes in the retroperitoneum after chemotherapy. Testicular cancer typically spreads here through your retroperitoneal lymph nodes. We use this technique to remove any tumors that have spread to the lymph nodes.
Kills cancer cells with high-energy light. Often used to prevent your cancer from returning, or as a primary treatment for seminoma, a specific type of testicular cancer.
Combines chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant to treat testicular cancer that returns after an initial course of chemotherapy. The stem cell transplant allows doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy to kill as much of the cancer as possible, which can also deplete your body of its own defense cells. The stem cell transplant prevents the infections and bleeding that can occur when bone marrow is damaged. After the high-dose chemotherapy, you receive an infusion of your own stem cells, which grow into healthy blood cells.
Identifies substances, also referred to as tumor markers, which are normally found in your blood that may indicate cancer if found in abnormally high levels. Key tumor markers in testicular cancer include lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and α-fetoprotein (AFP).
Cross-sectional imaging produce detailed pictures that can indicate whether cancer has spread to sites in your body.
A radioactive sugar molecule is injected into your body to highlight organs and tissues that might contain cancer.