Staging of testicular cancer (or any cancer for that matter) is a standardised method of assessing how much spread there is in your body. By identifying your stage, the appropriate treatment can be given, adjusted for any unique circumstances. In this article, I'll discuss the broad staging of testicular cancer.
Stage I testicular cancer means that there is no evidence of spread elsewhere in your body. This is confirmed using CT scans and X-rays.
There are also subdivisions of this stage to indicate the risk of having spread in future. If the cancer has been caught early then you could stand as high as an 85% chance of already being cured and many men opt for close surveillance and are only treated if the cancer spreads (it can be caught early by scans).
This is where cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the retroperitoneum. The spread of testicular cancer is highly predictable in most cases and this is usually the first place that it will spread to.
There are a number of treatment options if this has happened. Most men will undergo chemotherapy. Some may undergo radiation and some may undergo an operation known as an RPLND where the affected lymph nodes are removed.
There are subdivisions of this stage depending on how small or large the affected lymph nodes are.
If cancer has spread further then it is called Stage III. Usually, the spread occurs to the lungs next. In more aggressive cancers it can spread directly to organs such as the brain.
Testicular cancer is still highly treatable for many men, even those who are classified as Stage III. Chemotherapy is mandatory for Stage III patients. Surgery may also be required to remove any masses that remain after chemotherapy.
Recently diagnosed or affected by testicular cancer? Get the solid facts from a survivor here: Testicular Cancer Library .