Easy Read Information
Testicular Cancer is the cancer of the testicles - or balls.
This page gives you information about:
- The tests for testicular cancer
- The different ways we treat the disease
- The support we can offer you
Who we are
We are the regional centre for testicular cancer care in Merseyside and Cheshire and provide quick diagnosis and expert treatment.
What we do
If you come to the hospital you can expect:
Experts with you - from the first clinic appointment to aftercare - You’ll be assigned a specialist testicular cancer nurse who stays with you for the entire treatment journey. The nurse is there to help you with any problems or questions you may have.
Treatment that’s right for you - Specialists from different medical areas meet weekly. This is called a multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT) and is central to the way we work. The MDT advise, support and create treatment plans that are personalised for every patient.
The latest techniques - We perform surgical procedures – like open abdominal surgery – that are not available at other hospitals in the region.
A better patient experience - Our medical and surgical specialists work together in the same clinic – reducing repeat patient visits and making diagnosis and treatment faster.
Research-driven care - As a university hospital, we lead research into testicular cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We regularly publish research papers that help in the fight against cancer.
Being referred to us
Your doctor (GP) will send you to hospital for further investigations if you have testicular cancer symptoms like:
- a hard, pea-sized swelling on the front or the side of the testicle
- a recurring dull ache or sharp pain in the testicles or scrotum
- a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- a dull ache in the lower abdomen (belly)
- a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- fatigue and generally feeling unwell.
Please note that you can only be referred to the clinic by your GP.
What happens when you see us
We will see you for an appointment within two weeks of the referral. You will have the following tests at the clinic
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of inside the body. The doctor locates any extra lumps by taking an ultrasound of the testicles and scrotum.
- Blood tests: Your blood is examined to look for hormones or proteins that are linked to testicular cancer.
Results of these tests may take seven to ten days.
What happens next
If your blood test and ultrasound suggest cancer, you will be asked to agree to testicle removal (orchidectomy). This is the only way to safely obtain tissue for further examination by biopsy.
Removing the testicle (Orchidectomy)
This operation is performed under general anaesthetic. A small incision (cut) is made in your groin and whole testicle is then removed through the incision. You will be given the option of having a fake testicle (prosthetic testicle) inserted at the same time as this operation.
A biopsy is the only way to get a definite diagnosis of cancer. Cells from the testicle lump are taken for examination by a tissue expert (pathologist) to see if they are cancerous. The results of this biopsy can take a few days to process.
You will be given a CT scan if the biopsy confirms cancer. A CT scan uses x-rays to build a detailed 3D picture of the tissues inside the body. Further blood tests also help the doctors decide if cancer is present elsewhere.
You will need further treatment if cancer has spread. Treatment starts as soon as possible after the cancer is discovered.
Your test results are discussed by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). They decide the best treatment path if further cancer is discovered. You will be consulted fully so that you play a role in whatever treatment you receive.
Your treatment depends on many factors. One of the most important is how far the cancer has spread in your body. Testicular cancer can be in four different stages. To find out more visit the CancerHelp website.
The most common treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and (occasionally) radiotherapy. Sometimes, a combination of all three is required.
- Chemotherapy: This is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The amount of chemotherapy you have depends on the stage of your cancer. Sometimes it can take between three to four months to complete the course.
- Radiotherapy: This is a form of cancer therapy which uses high energy beams of x-ray radiation to help destroy cancer cells.
- Surgery: A CT scan is performed to see if any lumps are remaining. They are usually found in the abdomen. Surgery is performed to remove them.
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can interfere with fertility. We have a well-established sperm banking facility at the hospital. Many men with testicular cancer choose to bank sperm even if they have no current plans to start a family.
It's important that you're monitored regularly to make sure that you remain cancer-free. Clinic appointments are arranged individually to monitor each patient's tumour.
You may be asked to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials help us learn more about the best way to treat specific conditions. To find out more about the Clinical Research Unit visit the website here
The MDT is a group of experts including:
- specialist nurses
- pathologists (experts in cell analysis to look for cancer)
How to contact us
Contact Details for the Cancer Team : 0151 706 3700