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Staging and prognosis of testicular cancer

Staging

The tests completed by your specialist will help to show whether and how far the cancer has spread (the stage). There are several staging systems for testicular cancer, but the most commonly used is the TNM system. The TNM scores and the levels of tumour markers in the blood are used to work out an overall stage for the cancer. Stage 1 means that the cancer is found only in the testicle (early-stage cancer). Stage 2 and above mean that the cancer has spread outside the testicle to the lymph nodes in the abdomen or pelvis, or to other areas of the body.

T (tumour)describes whether the cancer is only in the testicle (T1) or has spread into nearby blood vessels or tissue (T2, T3, T4)
N (nodes)describes whether the cancer is not in any lymph nodes (N0) or has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N1, N2)
M (metastasis)describes whether cancer has not spread to distant parts of the body (M0) or whether cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes, organs or bones (M1)

Prognosis

Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. You may wish to discuss your prognosis with your doctor, but it is not possible for anyone to predict the exact course of the disease.

To assess your prognosis, your doctor will consider:

  • your test results
  • the type of testicular cancer you have
  • the stage of the cancer
  • other factors such as your age, fitness and medical history.

Testicular cancer has the highest survival rates of any cancer (other than common skin cancers). Regular monitoring and review (surveillance) is a major factor in ensuring good outcomes, so it’s vital that you attend all your follow-up appointments.

This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed August 2020 by the following expert content reviewers: Prof Declan Murphy, Urologist and Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Senior Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and The University of Adelaide, SA; Clinical A/Prof Peter Grimison, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Tanya Holt, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology Princess Alexandra Hospital Raymond Terrace (ROPART), QLD; Brodie Kitson, Consumer; Elizabeth Medhurst, Genitourinary and Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) Nurse Consultant, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rosemary Watson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria.