Chemotherapy for testicular cancer
Your oncologists may use chemotherapy may be used after surgery to destroy any remaining testicular cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to treat advanced testicular cancers that have spread to other organs, or that have come back after surgery.
In some cases, a more intensive chemotherapy regimen in combination with a stem cell transplant may be recommended. If testicular cancer chemotherapy may be an option for you, your care team at CTCA will work together to select the right type of chemotherapy and to develop an individualized treatment plan.
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation for testicular cancer
High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation is sometimes recommended for testicular cancer that has come back after previous treatment.
One of the limitations of standard chemotherapy is the effect on normal cells within the body, particularly the blood cells which play a vital role in protecting the body from infections, carrying oxygen to organs throughout the body and clotting the blood in the case of a cut. These effects normally limit the dose of the chemotherapy drug that can be used. However, in some cases doctors can use much higher doses of chemotherapy if they replace the damaged blood cells through a stem cell transplant.
In this procedure, doctors collect normal blood-forming stem cells from your bloodstream for several weeks before you undergo chemotherapy. These stem cells are saved and frozen. Then, after the high-dose chemotherapy is administered, you receive an infusion of your own stem cells, which settle in your bone marrow and begin making new blood cells again.
If high-dose chemotherapy for testicular cancer may be an option for you, your care team will explain the process in detail, including potential risks and benefits, and answer all of your questions so that you can make an informed decision.
What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs designed to slow or stop the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. It may be used:
- As a primary treatment to destroy cancer cells
- Before another treatment to shrink a tumor
- After another treatment to destroy any remaining cancer cells
- To relieve symptoms of advanced cancer
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our medical oncologists are experienced in delivering targeted, individualized chemotherapy options while also proactively managing side effects.
Chemotherapy delivery methods
Some chemotherapy delivery methods include:
- Orally (by mouth as a pill or liquid)
- Intravenously (by infusion into a vein)
- Topically (as a cream on the skin)
- Direct placement (via a lumbar puncture or device placed under the scalp)
When chemotherapy drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cells throughout the body, it is called systemic chemotherapy. When chemotherapy drugs are directed to a specific area of the body, it is called regional chemotherapy.
Experienced care team
For most of our patients, a medical oncologist serves as their primary doctor. Our medical oncologists specialize in diagnosing cancer and delivering chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and/or hormone therapy. They will work closely with you and the rest of your care team to discuss chemotherapy options based on your individual needs.
Individualized treatment approach
When you arrive at the hospital, your medical oncologist will review your medical history and perform a full diagnostic evaluation, then present you with a treatment plan based on your specific diagnosis.
Chemotherapy is an important part of treatment for many of our patients. Our physicians use leading treatment protocols and practice evidence-based medicine. In some cases, we may use innovative delivery methods to treat certain types of cancer.
We strive to find the right chemotherapy drug, or combination of drugs, for each person. We may use tests, such as tumor molecular profiling, to identify an appropriate drug combination for your disease and help you avoid unnecessary toxicity.
If chemotherapy is part of your treatment plan, your medical oncologist will coordinate your dosage and schedule. You may receive chemotherapy alone, or in combination with other treatment modalities like targeted therapies, surgery and/or radiation therapy.
Throughout your treatment, your medical oncologist will monitor the effectiveness of your chemotherapy regimen and modify your treatment plan accordingly.
Managing chemotherapy side effects
While chemotherapy targets cancer cells, it can also damage healthy cells and cause unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue and mouth sores. Your dedicated care team will provide a variety of supportive care services to help you prevent or manage side effects throughout your chemotherapy treatment.