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Monitoring (surveillance)

Find out about monitoring (surveillance) after removal of a testicle for testicular cancer.

After having a testicle removed for early (stage 1) testicular cancer you won't need more treatment if the risk of the cancer coming back is low. But you have regular tests to check for early signs of the cancer coming back so that it can be found and treated early.

Your doctor can tell you the risk in your case. It can be as low as 13 out of 100 (13%) or as high as 50 out of 100 (50%) depending on the type of cancer and other factors. 

Treatment can cure most men even if the cancer comes back.

You usually have tests for at least five years with regular appointments.

Appointments

Monitoring appointments with your doctor usually happen:

  • every month or two for non seminoma (teratoma) cancers
  • every few months for seminoma cancers

Your doctor will do a physical examination, check your other testicle and ask you how you feel. You can tell your doctor about:

  • any new or ongoing symptoms
  • any emotional or sexual effects the cancer or treatment have had

This helps your doctor give you the best care and support.

Tests

If your cancer produces tumour proteins (markers) you will have:

  • blood tests to check the levels
  • regular chest x-rays
  • sometimes CT scans

It's very important to go to your monitoring appointments. If the cancer comes back it will be found when it’s small and can be cured by treatment.

Over time, the risk of the cancer coming back goes down. Your appointments will happen less often.

If the cancer comes back

If your markers go up or scans show that the cancer has come back you have chemotherapy treatment.

There is still a very high chance of curing the cancer.

How you might feel

Some people find it very stressful to know that they need monitoring. You can talk this through with your doctor or specialist nurse. They can:

  • reassure you
  • explain how often you will have checks
  • explain the treatment you may have if the cancer does come back

There is currently no evidence linking stress to cancer.

Counselling

It can be very helpful to have counselling after cancer treatment or during longer term treatments.

What you can do for yourself

To keep healthy and feel you are doing something positive you can:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • try to learn to relax
  • try to stop smoking
  • note any new symptoms and report them to your doctor or nurse

A diet high in fresh fruit, vegetables and fish and low in animal fats is good for your health.

Relaxing will help you feel better and may help you cope better too. You could try a new hobby or relaxation techniques.

Last reviewed: 
15 Dec 2017
  • Testicular seminoma and non seminoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    J Oldenburg and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2013, Vol 24 (6): vi125-vi132

  • EAU European Guidelines on Testicular Cancer

    P Albers and others

    European Association of Urology 2016

  • Advances in the treatment of testiucular cancer

    Y Ehrlich and others

    Translational Andrology and Urology 2015, Vol 4 (3) pages 381-390

  • Cancer Prinicples & Practice of Oncology (10th edition)

    V T DeVita Jr, T S Lawrence and S A Rosenberg

    Wolters Kluwer 2015

  • Cancer and its Management (7th edition)

    J Tobias and D Hochhauser

    Wiley Blackwell 2015

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