Testicular cancer can occur in multiple stages. These stages are usually divided into three different categories, each differing in the severity and spread of the disease. If the cancer is limited to the testicle, it is considered stage one. If it has spread to lymph nodes, it is said to have entered stage two. If the spread is beyond the lymph nodes, the cancer is classified as stage three.
Tests for testicular cancer aim not only to determine its presence but also the progressive stage as well.
The tests used for the detection of the cancer usually involve a physical exam followed by blood tests. These tests aim to determine any abnormalities in the tumour marker levels in your blood. A high level might be indicative of testicular cancer. If the blood tests hint at the possibility of cancer, an ultrasound might follow. This helps obtain images of the testicle which then help determine if the lumps are inside the testicle and if they are solid or made up of fluid. If the ultrasound also hints at cancer, your affected testicle might be surgically removed and analysed in the lab for a conclusive diagnosis.
Once testicular cancer is confirmed, the type of cancer would be determined next. This could be either seminoma or non-seminoma. The former category is relatively easier to treat, whereas the latter is more aggressive, develops early in the patient's life span and spreads rapidly.
The last diagnosis step is aimed at determining the cancer stage. Blood tests are again used to determine the tumour markers. Computerized tomography (CT) scan might follow in order to gauge the spread of the cancer to the chest, pelvis and abdominal area.