Health Alert:

See the latest Coronavirus Information including vaccinations, testing sites, visitation restrictions, and more.

Staging Testicular Cancer

Staging systems provide doctors with a common language for describing tumors. After testicular cancer is diagnosed, a series of tests are used to investigate the extent of the cancer and to see whether it has spread to other parts of the body from where it started.

Staging is a way of recording the size, aggressiveness and growth of a cancer, and determining the plan for treatment. By understanding the stage of your cancer, you can make informed decisions about your treatment.

Staging testicular cancer attempts to discover the following:

  • The size of the tumor
  • Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and tissues
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

Stages of Testicular Cancer

Staging testicular cancer helps our urologic oncologists compare an individual situation to other patients with testicular cancer. They can also review clinical studies on groups of patients in similar cancer stages to determine how the cancer may behave and how different treatments may work.

Testicular tumors are also divided into three groups, based on how well the tumors are expected to respond to treatment.

Good Prognosis

For non-seminoma, all of the following must be true:

  • The tumor originates in the testicle or in the retroperitoneum (area outside or behind the abdominal wall)
  • The tumor has not spread to organs other than the lungs

For seminoma, all of the following must be true:

  • The tumor has not spread to organs other than the lungs; and
  • The level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is normal. Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) may be at any level.

Intermediate Prognosis

For non-seminoma, all of the following must be true:

  • The tumor is found in one testicle only or in the retroperitoneum (area outside or behind the abdominal wall)
  • The tumor has not spread to organs other than the lungs
  • The level of any one of the tumor markers is more than slightly above normal

For seminoma, all of the following must be true:

  • The tumor has spread to organs other than the lungs
  • The level of AFP is normal. β-hCG and LDH may be at any level

Poor Prognosis

For non-seminoma, at least one of the following must be true:

  • The tumor originates in the center of the chest
  • The tumor has spread to organs other than the lungs
  • The level of any one of the tumor markers is high

There is no poor prognosis grouping for seminoma testicular tumors.