Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
In order to make a diagnosis of testicular cancer, doctors will typically perform a physical exam, review the patient's medical history, and conduct certain lab tests and procedures. Tests and procedures used to diagnose this type of cancer include blood tumor marker tests, ultrasounds, and biopsies. If a diagnosis is made, additional tests will be needed to determine if the cancer has spread from the testicle to other parts of the body.
If a person has possible testicular cancer symptoms, doctors will need to perform a physical exam, ask about the patient's personal and family medical history, and recommend additional tests and procedures that examine the testicles.
In order to determine the cause of a person's symptoms, the doctor will need to:
- Ask a number of questions about the patient's health habits, past illnesses, and past treatments
- Perform a physical exam of the body to check for general signs of health and for signs of disease
- Examine the testicles to check for lumps, swelling, or pain.
Exams and tests that are used to make a testicular cancer diagnosis may include:
- Blood tumor marker tests
- An ultrasound
- An inguinal orchiectomy with biopsy.
Blood Tumor Marker Tests
Blood tumor marker tests are blood tests that are used to measure the levels of tumor markers. Tumor markers are substances that are often found in higher-than-normal amounts when cancer is present. Tumor markers such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (ßHCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) may suggest the presence of a testicular tumor, even if it is too small to be detected by physical exams or imaging tests.