If diagnostic tests determine that testicular cancer is likely to have spread to other parts of the body, NYU Langone doctors may recommend chemotherapy. These drugs are used to kill cancer cells throughout the body. They are usually given through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion.
Doctors prescribe chemotherapy drugs based on the type of testicular cancer you have, which is determined at the time of diagnosis. The type of cancer also determines the number of chemotherapy treatments, called cycles, that you need.
Our doctors typically administer chemotherapy through an IV infusion for several hours, a few times a week, in several cycles that last three or four weeks each. Each cycle typically consists of daily treatment with two or more chemotherapy drugs for one week, followed by two weeks of rest to let the body recover. The cycles may be repeated several times over a period of three to six months.
Chemotherapy drugs may also be taken by mouth daily for a couple of weeks followed by a week of rest. This cycle may also be repeated over several months.
Seminoma are usually slower growing tumors than nonseminoma. When a seminoma tumor spreads beyond the testicle, it’s typically treated with chemotherapy. Abdominal surgery to remove lymph nodes is required only occasionally.
For a nonseminoma tumor that has spread, a doctor may recommend starting with chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove lymph nodes in the area behind the abdominal organs.
For both seminoma and nonseminoma tumors, surgery to remove the testicle is always recommended, since chemotherapy does not fully penetrate the testicle.
Chemotherapy can be effective for eliminating or preventing the recurrence of advanced seminoma and nonseminoma tumors that have spread beyond the testicle.
Managing Side Effects
Side effects of chemotherapy may include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. NYU Langone specialists help you manage side effects by prescribing medication, adjusting the dose of chemotherapy, or by recommending integrative health services offered at Perlmutter Cancer Center.
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