Treating testicular cancer depends on several different factors. The team at Affiliated Urologists may recommend a number of treatment options to ensure a high survival rate and low risk of recurrent cancer.
The inguinal orchiectomy procedure can be performed as a partial procedure, where a tumor is removed, or as a radical orchiectomy, in which one or both testicles are completely removed. This is an extremely common treatment option for localized testicular cancer; although, it can also be practiced as a first step toward treating metastasized cancer originating in the testis. This surgical procedure leaves patients with a high survival rate and low risk of recurrent cancer, especially if the procedure is paired with other treatments offered at Affiliated Urologists.
Patients may be asked to avoid foods and non-clear liquids the night before the procedure. General anesthesia is typically administered, so fasting helps eliminate the possibility of surgical complications. In order to promote proper wound healing, patients may also be asked to stop smoking several weeks before the procedure.
During a radical orchiectomy, the patient is put under general anesthesia, shaved, and sterilized. A small incision is made in the groin just above the base of the leg on the affected side near the inguinal ligament. The testicle is pushed up and removed through the incision. The surgeon also removes the spermatic cord to reduce the risk of cancer spreading to the cord and nearby lymph nodes. Fortunately, the inguinal approach allows surgeons to examine the lymph nodes and determine whether or not the cancer has spread. A partial orchiectomy is a similar procedure that spares the testes by making an incision directly into the testicle, rather than the groin. The surgeon then carefully works to remove the tumor and suture the area back together. Finally, the patient is taken to a separate room to recover. A short hospital stay is expected.
When patients arrive home, they may experience some discomfort. This can be mitigated through pain medication prescribed by the physician, ice, and the use of a scrotal support. Patients should also look out for any signs of complications including fever, inability to urinate, or heavy bleeding. Slight discoloration and swelling are normal following an inguinal orchiectomy. In order to minimize the risk of complication, patients should not let their surgical wound dressings soak in a bathtub. Instead, they should keep the area clean and free of dirt in a shower. In addition, patients should avoid strenuous activity, including lifting heavy items. A follow-up appointment may be necessary to have any stitches removed. The patient's cancer may be monitored at regular intervals, but if the cancer has been in remission for a while, patients may only need to return on an annual basis.