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Testicular cancer statistics and outlook

Men and woman discussing testicular cancer

This page is about statistics and what they can tell us about the outlook for people with testicular cancer. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Testicular cancer statistics and outlook

Outlook means your chances of getting better. Doctors call this prognosis. The outlook for testicular cancer is one of the best for all cancers. Most men are cured, even after the cancer has spread. There are different types of testicular cancer and their prognosis statistics are slightly different. As with other types of cancer, your chances of recovery also vary depending on the stage of your cancer.

On this page, we have quite detailed information about the likely outcome of different stages and types of testicular cancer. The statistics are intended as a general guide only. For the more complete picture in your case, you’d have to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wants to read this type of information. 

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your prognosis.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating testicular cancer section.

 

 

About the information on this page

Following on this page is quite detailed information about the survival rates for different stages of testicular cancer. We have included it because many people have asked us for this. But not everyone who is diagnosed with a cancer wants to read this type of information. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment or not, then perhaps you might like to skip this page for now. You can always come back to it.

Please note that there are no national statistics available for different stages of cancer or treatments that people may have had. The statistics we present here are pulled together from a variety of different sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts who check each section of Cancer Research UK's patient information. We provide statistics because people ask us for them. But they are intended as a general guide and cannot tell you exactly what will happen in your particular case.

 

Cancer statistics in general

There is information about the different types of cancer statistics in our about cancer section. Unless you are very familiar with medical statistics, it might help to read this before you read the statistics below.

Remember that 5 year survival is a term that doctors use. It does not mean you will only live 5 years. It relates to the number of people in research who were still alive 5 years after diagnosis. Many of the men with testicular cancer who are alive 5 years after diagnosis will be cured because the cancer is unlikely to come back after this time.

 

Testicular cancer statistics in general

The outlook for testicular cancer is one of the best for all cancers. The figures that follow are put in medical research language. In other words, they say how many people out of 100 survive their cancer for more than 5 years. With testicular cancer, this is almost the same as saying how many are cured. Unlike some other cancers, it is rare for testicular cancer to come back more than 5 years later. The overall figures for England and Wales support this because the 5 year and 10 year survival figures are very similar. 

Of all the men in the UK diagnosed with testicular cancer, more than 97 out of 100 will survive their cancer for at least 5 years (more than 97%). Researchers estimate that more than 96 out of 100 will survive their cancer for at least 10 years (more than 96%).

There are different types of testicular cancer and the outlook statistics are slightly different. As with other types of cancer, your chances of recovery may be slightly lower depending on the stage of your cancer. Your tumour marker level also affects the outlook.

 

Outlook for testicular cancer that has spread

In 1997 researchers and doctors worked out a system for trying to predict the outcome for men with testicular cancer that has spread. Men's outlook is defined as good prognosis, intermediate prognosis or poor prognosis.

The way your prognosis is worked out is slightly different, depending on whether you have

Pure seminoma

Pure seminoma means that there are no teratoma cells in the tumour. You will have normal AFP marker levels if you have pure seminoma. There are two categories

Most men have a good prognosis. Good prognosis means that the seminoma has spread only to the lymph nodes or the lungs. It must not have spread anywhere else. The number of men alive 5 years after diagnosis is 86%.

Some men have an intermediate prognosis. This means that the seminoma has spread beyond the lung or lymph nodes, to other parts of the body such as the brain or liver. The number of men alive 5 years after diagnosis is 72%.

No one with pure seminoma is classified as having a poor prognosis

Non seminoma testicular cancer

For non seminoma that has spread there are three categories

Good prognosis means that your primary cancer was in your testicle, or at the back of your stomach or abdomen (retroperitoneal). It may have spread to the lungs or lymph nodes, but must not have spread to anywhere else in your body. Your markers are only slightly above normal (S1 in the TNM staging system). The number of men alive 5 years after diagnosis is about 92%.

Intermediate prognosis is the same as for good prognosis, except that the markers are higher – moderately above normal (S2 in the TNM staging system). The number of men alive 5 years after diagnosis is 80%.

Poor prognosis means that the primary cancer started in your chest (mediastinum). Or the cancer has spread to somewhere else in your body, other than the lungs or lymph nodes, such as the liver or brain. You may also be in this category if your marker levels are high (S3 in the TNM staging system). The number of men alive 5 years after diagnosis is 48%.

 

How reliable are these statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people for example.

The statistics are not detailed enough to tell you about the different treatments people may have had. They also don't tell us how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will determine your treatment and prognosis.

Remember that statistics are always slightly out of date. Doctors have to follow the progress of their patients over many years in order to get the statistics. So, by the time they are published, treatments have improved and patients may be doing better anyway.

 

Clinical trials

Research evidence shows that taking part in clinical trials may improve outlook. No one is completely sure why this is. It is probably partly to do with your doctors and nurses monitoring you more closely if you are in a trial. For example, you may have more scans and blood tests. There is more information in the trials and research section.

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Updated: 21 February 2013