It is the most common form of cancer in men ages 15 to 35 and is diagnosed in 8,000 men annually. Fortunately, new advances in the treatment of testicular cancer can mean recovery after surgery in only around 36 hours.
At the Siteman Cancer Center, urologic surgeon Robert S. Figenshau, MD, is performing a minimally invasive treatment for the disease that’s only available at a few centers nationally.
“Surgery is the main treatment for testicular cancer and traditionally in the U.S. it is done open,” says Dr. Figenshau. “Now with laparascopic techniques, recovery is much faster and the incisions much smaller.”
Many patients with low stage (Stage I or Stage II) testicular cancer tumors elect to undergo additional surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity. This procedure, called “retroperitoneal lymph node dissection” (RPLND), can be a major operation that traditionally includes a lengthy incision from below the breastbone to the groin.
Alternately, Dr. Figenshau and his colleagues at Siteman can perform the procedure laparascopically. Looking on a video monitor, Dr. Figenshau can perform the exact dissection and removal of the lymph nodes that is done in the open surgical procedure.
“We have had surgical results similar to those of the open procedure, but patients experience a much more rapid recovery when comp-ared to the recovery period following the open surgical procedure,” says Dr. Figenshau. “Most patients are discharged from the hospital the day after surgery and are fully recovered one month after the surgery.”