Model helps patients select testicular cancer treatment

January 28, 2010

A new model has been developed to help patients with testicular cancer decide on a treatment option by assisting them in considering life expectancy and quality of life estimates as they make their choice.

A new model has been developed to help patients with testicular cancer decide on a treatment option by assisting them in considering life expectancy and quality of life estimates as they make their choice.

In a study from Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, researchers led by Andrew Stephenson, MD, examined the three most common treatment options for stage I nonseminomatous germ cell testicular cancer, including chemotherapy, surveillance, or retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.

The study used 24 hypothetical patients. The researchers found that surveillance was the preferred option except for patients with a high risk for relapse.

"This model will better enable patients and their physicians to consider the various outcomes for each treatment method and help them make informed decisions," Dr. Stephenson said. "We believe it’s important to empower patients so they can visualize their quality of life after treatment."

Dr. Stephenson and the team decided to develop the model because patients have difficulty weighing complex information regarding multiple outcomes, especially when some complications may not occur for decades. Because the treatment option for this cancer cannot be based simply on maximizing survival, recommendations are typically based largely on physician bias.

The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2010; 28:119-25).