If your healthcare provider believes you may have testicular cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure.

You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

He or she will also give you a physical exam, including an exam of your testicles. You may have one or more of the following tests.

  • Ultrasound. This is likely the first test your doctor will recommend to determine whether the symptoms you are experiencing are due to testicular cancer. Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of the inside of the body part in question (here, the testicles), allowing your doctor to determine whether the change or swelling you’ve noticed is a solid lump and therefore more likely to be cancer. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend further testing, including a blood test to look for tumor markers, or surgery.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan. This scan, which takes a series of X-ray images to provide a detailed interior view of your body, allows your doctor to determine whether the cancer has spread to places other than your testicles.

Biopsies are rarely performed for testicular cancer due to risk of spreading the cancer. Instead, your doctor will likely recommend a surgery called a radial inguinal orchiectomy to remove the testicle. The entire testicle is then sent to be checked by a pathologist much like tissue or cells from a biopsy would be.

Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.

When you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.

Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent testicular cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.

Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including testicular cancer.

Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.

Should I get a second opinion?

A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating testicular cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:

  • You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
  • A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
  • There may be uncertainty around the stage of testicular cancer.
  • You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
  • Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.

Questions to ask when getting a second opinion

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:

  • Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
  • Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
  • Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
  • What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How long are treatment recovery periods?

For more information, visit these trusted national sources for a variety of additional educational tools and resources: