In the four decades since the first cure for advanced testicular cancer was reported by "chemotherapists" at the National Cancer Institute, testicular cancer has emerged as one of the greatest success stories in cancer treatment. Modern therapies now cure 95 percent of men diagnosed with testicular cancer. Even the majority of those with advanced disease are now cured. Equally important, most men who are diagnosed with the disease are able to return to a normal state of health after treatment and maintain their fertility.
These achievements were driven by clinical trials that provided critical insight on the most effective uses of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Studies have guided doctors as they increasingly adopt a "less is more" approach to cancer therapy: more than three-quarters of men with early-stage testicular cancer are now treated with surgery alone, followed by long-term monitoring for recurrences. If the cancer does recur, it is usually curable with chemotherapy.
However, gaps in treatment and long-term care still exist. A small portion of patients – mostly young men – have cancers that do not respond to current therapies. Better ways are needed to determine which men need aggressive care, and who can be spared from these therapies and their side effects. And for survivors, there is a growing need for follow-up care to monitor for and address the long-term health risks associated with this cancer and its treatment, such as cardiovascular disease and second cancers.