Testicular Cancer: Survival Rates and Prognosis

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Testicular cancer affects one out of every 250 males in the United States, and estimates show over 9,500 men and boys will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020. The good news is the testicular cancer survival rate is high, especially when the condition is diagnosed early.

Cancer specialists look at 5-year survival rates to help give their patients a prognosis. The higher the percentage, the better: A 70% survival rate, for example, means 70% (7 out of 10) of men diagnosed with testicular cancer live at least 5 years after the time they were diagnosed.

The overall 5-year survival rate for testicular cancer is 95%. This means 95% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer are still alive 5 years later. However, individual testicular cancer prognosis depends on a variety of factors, including the stage and progression of the cancer, which will determine your treatment plan.

Stage 0 or Stage I Testicular Cancer

Men with stage 0 and stage I testicular cancer have the best survival rates, 99.2%. These are usually treated by surgery alone or surgery plus chemotherapy. Some men with stage 1 may also have surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen, called the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, depending on the type of cancer. It is done to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Stage 2 Testicular Cancer

Stage 2 testicular cancer has spread to the nearby retroperitoneal lymph nodes but has not spread elsewhere. Treatment usually includes surgery to remove the affected testicle and the lymph nodes. This may be followed by radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both. Up to 96.6% of men treated for stage 2 testicular cancer survive five years, although up to 20% may have a recurrence. Close monitoring can help detect the cancer if it returns so prompt treatment can begin.

Stage 3 Testicular Cancer

If your cancer has metastasized, or spread, the outlook is still good, with a 5-year survival rate of 72.8% for men with stage 3 testicular cancer. As with the other stages, treatment for stage 3 testicular cancer includes surgery to remove the testicle and, depending on the type of cancer, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Keep in mind, the survival rate for any cancer is a statistic based on data from past cases of testicular cancer. It does not reflect current diagnoses and current treatments. It also does not specify whether the patient was totally cancer-free after treatment or received long-term treatment to keep the cancer from progressing.

Treating Recurrent Testicular Cancer

Once a man has had testicular cancer in one testicle, there is always a small risk of it developing in the remaining testicle, so he should be monitored throughout his life in order to catch the cancer early should it recur.

Cancer that returns after treatment is treated the same way as other stages. In addition, patients may be offered a stem cell transplant to try to rid the body of all the cancer cells, to prevent another recurrence.

Clinical Trials for Testicular Cancer Treatment

Men who have advanced or recurrent testicular cancer may choose to be part of a clinical study of new treatment options. If you are interested in learning about a clinical trial near you and if you would be a candidate, speak with your oncologist about your options, including your availability to travel if necessary.

Fortunately, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers when detected early. Talk to your doctor about regular screening for testicular cancer or, if you’ve been diagnosed, which treatment plan is right for your type and stage of cancer.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 May 20
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