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Monday, March 21, 2016

"Cured" 2-Year Post-Treatment for Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer patients can expect a clean bill of health if they stay disease-free for two years, meaning they won't need more CT scans.
Testicular cancer patients can expect a clean bill of health if they stay disease-free for two years, meaning they won't need more CT scans.

 "Cured" 2-Year Post-Treatment for Testicular Cancer

"This is a paradigm shift for men with advanced testicular cancer."
"For many cancers, the five-year mark has been the gold standard. Only when you've passed the five-year mark are you thought to be at a very low risk of relapse."
"Now with metastatic testicular cancer, after the two-year mark you're considered golden. This is much more reassuring for patients as opposed to waiting five years."
Dr. Daniel Heng, clinical associate professor, University of Calgary, Dept. of oncology

The results of a study bankrolled by the Calgary charity Oneball is now set to be published in the March edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings will be recognized as bringing huge hope and relief to men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, the most common form of cancer in young men. Some thousand men are annually diagnosed with testicular cancer. If the cancer is found at a early period, it has a survival rate of 99 percent.

The finding of this new study out of the University of Calgary reflects a cure rate of almost 100 percent in those patients who are deemed to be free of cancer after a two-year period following diagnosis and treatment. Where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, there is a varied prognosis. Scientists agree that survival rates for men with advanced metastatic testicular cancer can be anywhere from 40 to 90 percent.

University of Calgary researchers synthesized data over a twelve-year period based on about a thousand metastatic testicular cancer patients to reach their conclusion. Typically, post-recovery patients undergo a CT scan every three months in the first year following treatment. That becomes less frequent in the second year, with scans every four to six month. Following that two-year protocol, annual CT scans are given for up to five years following treatment.

The results of the new study, however, now leaves scientists free to recommend that such frequent monitoring of patients after two years of disease-free survival can be dispensed with, including the associated blood tests and physical exams. The fear and suspense that people live with each time another scan appointment approaches will now, in theory be lifted.

In a cautionary note, doctors emphasize that whether or not someone has experienced testicular cancer, awareness of it should not be relaxed, and regular self-examination is strongly recommended to ensure that if it does exist, it is found and treatment given as soon as possible for best possible outcomes.

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