Testicular Cancer Stages / Staging
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Stages of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer staging describes how large a cancer is, whether or not the disease has spread and if it is producing tumor markers, in addition to the the level of those proteins in the serum, or blood. The staging guidelines developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) are often used in testicular cancer staging. The stages are based on four categories:
- T – Describes whether the tumor has spread to tissues near the testicle.
- N – Indicates whether the testicular cancer cells have spread to regional lymph nodes.
- M – Refers to whether the cancer has metastasized (spread to distant areas of the body).
- S – Indicates the level of tumor marker proteins in the serum, or blood.
Testicular Cancer Stage Groupings
Once the individual TNMS components are scored, they are combined to determine the overall testicular cancer stage group:
- Stage 0 – The cancer cells have not spread beyond the testicle. At this stage of testicular cancer, tumors are also referred to as carcinomas in situ.
- Stage I – The cancer has invaded tissues next to the testicle, but has not spread to lymph nodes, or more distant sites in the body. Levels of tumor marker proteins may be normal or elevated.
- Stage IA – The tumor may have grown through the inner layer of tissue surrounding the testicle, but not the outer layer, and it has not spread to blood or lymph vessels. Serum levels of tumor markers are normal.
- Stage IB – Tumors at this stage may have spread to blood or lymph vessels, or may have invaded the outer layer surrounding the testicle, the spermatic cord or the scrotum. Serum levels of tumor markers are normal.
- Stage IS – These cancers can demonstrate any degree of invasion of nearby tissues, and levels of tumor markers measured after the tumor has been removed by surgery are elevated.
- Stage II – Testicular cancers at this stage have invaded tissues next to the testicle, and can now be found in at least one nearby lymph node. Tumor marker levels may be normal or slightly elevated.
- Stage IIA – Tumors at this stage have spread to one or more lymph nodes, but no node is larger than 2 cm.
- Stage IIB - Tumors at this stage have spread to at least one lymph node, which is between 2 cm and 5 cm in size.
- Stage IIC – These tumors have spread to at least one lymph node that is larger than 5 cm.
- Stage III – Testicular cancers at this stage have spread to distant lymph nodes or organs.
- Stage IIIA – These cancers have spread to a distant lymph node or the lungs. Tumor marker protein levels are normal or slightly elevated.
- Stage IIIB – At this stage of testicular cancer, patients have moderately elevated levels of tumor marker proteins – and the disease has either spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes, or the lungs.
- Stage IIIC – These cancers have high levels of tumor marker proteins, and may have spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes, or the lungs. Alternatively, they may have spread to other distant organs, such as the liver or the brain, but in this case serum tumor markers can be at any level.
Testicular Cancer Staging and Treatment Options
There are a number of different treatment options for each type and stage of testicular cancer. Your medical history and other relevant factors will be carefully reviewed by your care team at CTCA to develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
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