Cancer Home > Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
An ultrasound is a test in which high-frequency sound waves are bounced off internal organs and tissues. The echoes produce a picture called a sonogram. An ultrasound of the scrotum can show the presence and size of a mass in the testicle. An ultrasound is also helpful in ruling out other conditions, such as swelling due to infection or a collection of fluid that is unrelated to cancer.
A biopsy is a microscopic examination of testicular tissue by a pathologist to determine whether testicular cancer is present. In nearly all cases of suspected cancer, the entire testicle will be removed through an incision in the groin. This procedure is called radical inguinal orchiectomy.
In rare cases (for example, when a man has only one testicle), the surgeon will perform an inguinal biopsy, which removes a sample of tissue from the testicle through an incision in the groin. The surgeon will then proceed with an inguinal orchiectomy only if cancer cells are present. The surgeon will not cut through the scrotum to remove tissue because if the problem is cancer, this procedure could cause the disease to spread.
If testicular cancer is present, more tests are needed to find out if the cancer has spread from the testicle to other parts of the body. Doctors will need to determine the stage (extent) of the disease in order to plan appropriate treatment.
(Click Testicular Cancer Staging for more information.)