"I now know how cancer can strike anyone whatever their situation or circumstance. I hope by taking part in a trial it will help others in my position in the future.”
A trial looking at how often men should have CT scans after surgery for testicular cancer (TE08)
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Doctors usually treat early stage testicular cancer with surgery. But there is a small chance that the cancer can come back afterwards (recur). So men routinely have tests and CT scans after surgery to check for this. But doctors aren’t sure exactly how often they should have the CT scans. Having a scan exposes you to radiation, so they don’t recommend people have scans they don’t need.
The aim of this trial was to find out if having more CT scans would help find out if the cancer had returned or not.
Summary of results
The researchers found that having 5 CT scans was no better than having 2 CT scans for finding out whether testicular cancer had come back after surgery.
The trial recruited 414 men after surgery for early testicular cancer. As part of their follow up care
- Two thirds of the men had CT scans 3 months and one year after surgery (2 scans in total)
- One third of the men had a CT scan every 3 months in the first year and then another a year after that (5 scans in total)
The researchers analysed the results in 2007. They looked at the number of men whose cancer had come back 2 years after treatment. The results showed that having 5 scans didn’t pick up signs of cancer any earlier than having 2.
The researchers were not able to draw any conclusions from this trial for men with a high risk of testicular cancer coming back. Only 1 in 10 patients (10%) in the trial had a high risk of recurrence. So, there were not enough men with high recurrence risk for the researchers to say whether having only 2 scans is suitable for this group of patients or not.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Gordon Rustin
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer