What are lab tests?
Sometimes, testicular cancers secrete large amounts of certain proteins, known as tumor markers. Blood tests for these proteins can help in diagnosing testicular tumors and determining the subtype of the cancer, or to monitor response during therapy.
To perform lab tests, your doctor will take a sample of blood and then send it to a pathologist for further examination.
Lab tests for testicular cancer
The proteins most frequently associated with testicular germ cell cancers are alpha-fetoprotein (non-seminomas only), and human chorionic gonadotropin (both seminomas and non-seminomas). Another protein, lactate dehydrogenase, may also be elevated when cancer is present, but increased levels of this enzyme can occur in other conditions, so it is used more frequently to evaluate the extent of disease and to monitor response after a testicular cancer diagnosis has been made.