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Tests That Help Evaluate Testicular Cancer

If your doctor finds you have testicular cancer, you may need these tests.

  • A CT scan--For this test, an X-ray beam takes pictures of the inside of your body from many angles. A computer puts these images together, creating a detailed cross-section image. A CT scan can help your doctor learn if your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes in the back part of your abdomen or inside your chest.

  • A lymphangiography--For this test, a doctor injects a dye into a lymph vessel in your feet. The dye travels to your lymph nodes and allows your doctor to use X-rays to see if the cancer has spread. This test is rarely used now because CT scans have become widely available and are very good at analyzing the lymph nodes.

  • Positron-emission tomography (PET) scan--For this test, a doctor injects radioactive sugar into one of your veins. Cancer cells divide faster than normal cells and use sugar for energy. So cancer cells take up the radioactive material faster than normal cells. A scanner finds these radioactive hot spots. This test can help find testicular cancer that has spread.

  • Other tests--You may have a CT or MRI scan of your brain, bone scans, or other tests if your doctor suspects the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. When cancer spreads, it is called metastasis.