About two weeks ago I was told I had testicular cancer. It was stage one seminoma and I had an orchidectomy a few hours after I got the news. The doctors have told me it is not aggressive, the surgery was successful and the CT scans, blood tests and chest X-ray show that nothing has spread.
This was obviously a big shock for me and my family! The only warning sign was a small lump, other than that I felt fit and healthy, exercised most days and didn't expect anything like this to pop up.
I feel pretty lucky that I picked this up early and everything seems like it will be ok but I'm unsure of a decision on treatment options. The surgeon thought I wouldn't be a good candidate for chemo because the mass was smaller than 4cm and the pathology indicated that there was no apparent pathway that could have allowed the cancer to spread. He thought the benefits of chemo (a slightly reduced chance of the cancer returning) probably wouldn't outweigh the negative side affects.
The oncolgist told me I had two options: I could monitor my body by having monthly blood tests and 3 monthly scans and have appointments with him to follow up on results OR I could have one dose of Carboplatin (chemo) just in case something was left behind. I would have to look into sperm banking etc if I go down this path. The oncolgist said either option is a good choice and he has left it up to me to make the decision.
At the moment I'm leaning towards not having the chemo and doing just doing the scans, blood tests and follow up appointments. After all the information I've been given, it feels like there's no reason to fear that something will come back but I'm also concerned that I could be surprised and regret the decision.
The oncologist said that even if something comes back (there is a small chance of this - I think he said a 15% chance), we will catch it early and we can do chemo at that stage but it will probably be three or four treatments. If I do the one dose of chemo now I think he said the chance of recurrence goes down to 5%.
Obviously I can talk more with my doctor but I would really appreciate any advice and it would be great to hear from someone that has been in a similar situation.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.