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When Testicular Cancer Spreads

Learn what happens when testicular cancer spreads in this Howcast video.


Testicular cancer can present in many ways. Most commonly, when a patient comes with testicular cancer it will be confined to the testicle. However, in several cases there can be spreaded testicular cancer. And testicular cancer is known to spread in a very predictable fashion. It first goes to the lymph nodes that exist in the abdominal area.

The reason is that the testicles actually originated in the abdomen during development. And so the blood flow to the testicle, the lymphatic drainage from the testicle and the venous drainage from the testicle actually all goes to the abdominal area, the abdominal veins and arteries. So when testicular cancer spreads, it first goes to the lymph nodes in what we call the retroperitoneum, which is the lymph node tissue around the largest artery and vein in your body, called the aorta vena cava.

From there, the lymphatic channels then actually go upward into the chest area. And from there they can actually course up to the brain area. So the first route of spread is the abdominal area, then the chest and then the brain. Now, when there is spread of testicular cancer, then that puts patients into a higher stage category and the stage of the cancer is really determined by the extent of spread.

The treatments that we have for patients who have extensive disease or spread of cancer depends on several factors, including the type of cancer you have, the status of your tumor markers and the stage of the disease. How high has it spread to? That will then determine what types of treatments are available to you.

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