When the cancer is suspected, the entire testicle is surgically removed. The tissue is examined under a microscope to determine whether cancer cells are present.
Testicular cancer is divided in to two broad categories, seminoma and nonseminoma. This can be identified by looking at the cancer cells in the tissue through the microscope. The line of treatment depends on whether seminoma is present or nonseminoma is present. In general, nonseminoma is more difficult to treat than seminoma.
If the seminoma cancer is confined to the testicle only, then the cure rate approaches nearly 100 percent. All stages of seminoma have a cure rate that exceeds 90 percent. Nonseminoma is more aggressive. During the microscopic examination, if the nonseminoma cells are observed in addition to the seminoma cells, then it is treated as nonseminoma only. CT or MRI scans of the abdomen, chest, and also the brain are done to see the spread of cancer beyond the testicles.
Small bean shaped structures known as lymph nodes are spread all over the body and they are part of the immune system. Lymph nodes are interconnected through the lymph channels. The spreading of the testicular cancer takes place through the lymph channels that drain in to lymph nodes in the groin area and then in to channels near the blood vessel aorta that carries blood from the heart into lymph nodes between the abdomen and back called retroperitoneal lymph nodes.
The following stages are decided depending on how far testicular cancer has spread.
Stage I -- Cancer is found only in the testicle.
Stage II -- Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen.
Stage III -- Cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other areas of the body such as lungs and liver.
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