Many men come to Memorial Sloan Kettering because they have found a lump or swelling in one of their testicles. Your first appointment will include a complete examination of your testicles and abdomen. We will also do blood tests to measure certain protein levels (tumor markers) that can indicate the presence of tumors and help determine your prognosis.
If needed, the team may order imaging tests, including ultrasounds and CT scans. These tests can help find cancerous tumors and determine if they’ve spread to other parts of your body.
Surgery to Identify the Tumor Type
Surgery is an important part of diagnosing testicular cancer. In the surgical procedure, which is called a radical orchiectomy, we remove the affected testicle and examine the tumor to identify which type of tumor you have: seminoma, nonseminoma, or something less common. This information helps your doctors choose the right treatment for you.
If you’ve had a radical orchiectomy at a different facility, our pathologists working in the laboratory can reexamine the tumor tissue to confirm or refine your initial diagnosis. If the tumor tissue is unavailable, or if there’s no tumor found in your examination, we may perform a biopsy (take a tissue sample) on any abnormal lymph nodes in your groin or abdomen or on a tumor in another part of your body.
If diagnostic tests indicate that you have a germ cell tumor, the next step is to assess how advanced the tumor is through a process called staging.