Preparing for testicular cancer surgery

Before your operation you will meet members of your team.

You have tests before your operation to check:

  • your fitness for an anaesthetic, if you need one
  • that you’ll make a good recovery from surgery

You might have some or all of the following tests:

  • blood tests to check your general health and how well your kidneys are working
  • an ECG to check that your heart is healthy
  • breathing tests (called lung function tests)
  • an echocardiogram (a painless test of your heart using sound waves)
  • a chest x-ray to check that your lungs are healthy
  • a test to check your heart and lung function when you're resting and exercising (called a cardio pulmonary exercise test)

Pre assessment clinic

Your pre assessment appointment prepares you for your operation.

You meet members of your treatment team at this appointment and you can sign the consent form to agree to the operation.

Ask lots of questions. It helps to write down all your questions beforehand to take with you. The more you know about what is going to happen, the less frightening it will seem.

You can ask more questions when you go into hospital so don’t worry if you forget to ask some.

At the hospital you might meet:

The surgeon

A member of the surgical team will tell you about:

  • the operation you are going to have
  • the benefits of having surgery
  • the possible risks
  • what to expect afterwards

The anaesthetist

The anaesthetist gives you the anaesthetic and looks after you during the operation. They make sure you’re fit enough for the surgery.

The clinical nurse specialist

The nurse checks your:

  • general health
  • weight
  • blood pressure
  • pulse
  • temperature

The nurse also checks what help and support you have to see what you will need when you go home. They are your point of contact and care for you throughout your treatment.

The physiotherapist

The physiotherapist assesses how well you can move around. They let the doctors know if there is anything that could affect your recovery.

The physiotherapist also teaches you leg and breathing exercises to do after your operation to help with recovery. Learning how to do the exercises beforehand makes it easier afterwards.

Learning breathing and leg exercises

Breathing exercises help to stop you from getting a chest infection. If you smoke, it helps if you can stop at least a few weeks before your operation.

Leg exercises help to stop blood clots forming in your legs. You might also have medicines to stop the blood from clotting. You have them as small injections under the skin.

You start the injections before your operation. You might also wear compression stockings and pumps on your calves or feet to help the circulation.

Your nurse and physiotherapist will get you up out of bed quite quickly after your surgery. This is to help prevent chest infections and blood clots forming.

This 3-minute video shows you how to do the breathing and leg exercises.

Going into hospital

You’ll probably go into hospital on the day of your operation.

What to take with you

Take in:

  • pyjamas
  • underwear
  • dressing gown
  • slippers
  • contact lenses, solution, glasses and a case
  • wash bag – flannel, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap
  • razor
  • towel
  • small amount of money
  • medicines you normally take
  • magazines, books
  • headphones and music to listen to
  • a tablet or smartphone for web browsing, entertainment and phone calls

Time in hospital

The length of your stay depends on the type of operation you have and your recovery.

After surgery to remove your testicle, you can usually go home later that day. But might need to stay in hospital overnight.

After surgery to remove lymph nodes from your stomach, you will need to stay in hospital longer. Your surgeon will tell you more about this.

Family and friends

Before you go into hospital, it might be worth checking:

  • whether the ward is allowing visitors
  • if they have set visiting times
  • the best number for friends and family to phone, to find out how you are

The letter you receive before your operation may contain this information. But if not, you can phone the ward or hospital reception to find out.

You can use your mobile phone in hospital. But there may be some time before and after your operation when you won’t have your mobile nearby. And you may not feel like talking.

Last reviewed: 
01 Dec 2021
Next review due: 
01 Dec 2024
  • Testicular seminoma and non seminoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    J Oldenburg and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2013. Volume 24, Supplement 6, pages 125 - 132

  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, 10th edition
    S Lister, J Hofland and H Grafton (Editors)
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2020

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