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Follow-up after treatment for testicular cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for testicular cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists and urologists) and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.
Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:
- any new lump or swelling
- cough or trouble breathing
The chance of testicular cancer recurring is greatest within 2 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time. Even if testicular cancer recurs, it can be treated.
Schedule for follow-up visits
Most men will have follow-up for testicular cancer for 5–10 years after initial treatment. Follow-up visits are usually scheduled:
- every 2–6 months for the first 3 years
- every 6–12 months after 3 years
During follow-up visits
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
- checking the remaining testicle
- feeling lymph nodes in your groin, abdomen and chest
- listening to your lungs
- checking your blood pressure and pulse
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
- blood tests to check serum tumour marker levels to see if they returned to normal after treatment
- chest x-rays to check if cancer has spread to the lungs
- CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis to look for cancer that may remain after treatment (residual disease) or that has spread
If a recurrence is found, your healthcare team will assess you to determine the best treatment options.
Questions to ask about follow-up
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.
Establishing a national caregivers strategy
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.