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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 right away if you have:
- any new lump or swelling
- a cough or trouble breathing
The chance that testicular cancer will come back (recur) is greatest within 2 years, so you will need close follow-up during this time.
Schedule for follow-up visits
Follow-up visits for testicular cancer are usually scheduled for 5 to 10 years after the initial treatment:
- every 2 to 6 months for the first 3 years
- every 6 to 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 the 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 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 the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.
Questions to ask about follow-up
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.
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Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.