Cancer of any type is always concerning to patients and anxiety-provoking, and naturally so. When I see a patient with testicular cancer, the first thing I try to do is reassure them because if there's any type of cancer to have testicular cancer is probably the best one to have. It is highly treatable for patients who undergo the appropriate treatments and the appropriate followup. Therefore it is very rare that we lose a patient to testicular cancer. The survival rate for testicular cancer is well over 95%.
The patients who have cancer that is confined to the testicle and has not spread anywhere else, the survival rate is essentially 100%. Even in cases of advanced testicular cancer where cancer has spread to the abdomen, the chest, the brain, such as in the case of Lance Armstrong, many of those patients, well over 80-85% of those patients, will survive the disease. The first step in reassuring patients is to explain to them that it is highly treatable. As I said, if you're going to have any type of cancer, testicular cancer is probably one of the better ones to have. Regardless, in many cases it's still devastating to patients. Patients still have to cope with the fact that they may have loss of the testicle. They may have issues with fertility or having a hard time having children afterwards.
For that reason we can also counsel patients to perform something called sperm banking where they donate their sperm ahead of time and have it saved in case they want to have children down the road. We also have to address the fact that they may require additional therapies. Other than surgery, they may require chemotherapy, which can be difficult to go through as well. In some cases, it can be a drawn out process to undergo treatment of testicular cancer. However, the way I explain it to patients. There's a light at the end of the tunnel and once you get through those treatments, then you know that there's a very high likelihood that you're going to be around for the rest of your life, to share that time with your families.
In order to cope with these issues while you're undergoing treatments, often cancer centers or physicians that you see will be able to guide you to support groups that may be available to you. Support groups that include other testicular cancer patients. I think it's very helpful to talk to other people who have gone through treatments for these disease process and to see that they're doing well. These people, these support groups provide great resources for you to not only understand your disease, understand what you're going through, but also provide emotional support for what you're going through.
There are many resources available to you if you are diagnosed with the disease. As I said, unlike other cancers, which may sometimes be a death sentence, testicular cancer is highly survivable and highly curable if you do all the appropriate measures that are necessary.