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A Precision Treatment for Testicular Cancer Bone Mets

What is Metastatic Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. According to the SEER Cancer Statistics, the average five-year survival rate for all stages is 95.1%, meaning it is one of the most treatable cancers. In fact, if diagnosed early before it has started to spread, the five-year survival rate is 99.2%.

At the time of diagnosis, the doctor will determine the stage of the cancer:

  • Stage I (about 68% of diagnoses) – the cancer is confined to the testicle (localized disease)
  • Stage II (about 18% of diagnoses) – the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (regional disease)
  • Stage III (about 13% of diagnoses) – the cancer has spread to remote sites (metastatic disease)

When testicular cancer becomes metastatic, the most common sites are the lungs, and the lymph nodes in the chest, pelvis and neck. However, more advanced cases can metastasize to the liver or bone. If testicular cancer spreads to the bone, it is called testicular cancer bone mets.

Testicular cancer bone mets

Testicular cancer bone mets are rare, and their true incidence is not known. The most common skeletal sites appear to be the middle and lower spine, humerus (arm bone), rib, pelvis, femur (thigh bone) and sternum. Conventional treatment for testicular cancer is 1-4 lines of chemotherapy, and testicular cancer bone mets often respond to chemotherapy and go into remission (seem to disappear for up to several years.

Testicular cancer bone mets may initially have no symptoms. If asymptomatic (no symptoms) bone mets occur, they are sometimes discovered as a result of imaging. On the other hand, bone mets can seriously diminish quality of life due to severe pain, fractures, and spinal cord compression. Medication such as bisphosphonates may be prescribed to strengthen bones, pain medication may be used to control pain, and sometimes radiation to the bone lesion is done to control the tumor growth and reduce pain.

MRgFUS: a new treatment for painful testicular cancer bone mets

When conventional treatments no longer alleviate bone pain, there is a new noninvasive outpatient treatment called MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to identify the lesion and to formulate a treatment plan. Treatment consists of aiming multiple “beams” of ultrasound at the target area from many different angles. As the “beams” intersect at the target, they generate lethal heat. This heat destroys (ablates) the metastatic bone tumor, and deadens the nerves that send pain messages to the brain. There is no need for surgery or radiation.

With 3-7 days after treatment, most patients have significant pain reduction – in some cases, almost zero pain.

Advantages of MRgFUS

Patients who are candidates for any surgical or radiation bone mets therapy are also candidates for MRgFUS. When given a choice, most patients choose MRgFUS because it offers the following advantages:

  • Noninvasive procedure done inside the MRI equipment
  • No surgery, no risk of infection
  • No exposure to radiation
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Return to normal activity in a few days
  • Pain control results in a week or less
  • Competitive, if not better, results when compared with surgery and radiation
  • Significant pain relief that is as durable, if not more so, than radiation

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with testicular cancer bone mets, the Sperling Medical Group offers the Exablate MRgFUS procedure to relieve bone pain. For more information, contact our Center, or visit our website.

Bone mets