Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Whom to see
Make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner if you find a lump on a testicle. If your doctor suspects you could have testicular cancer, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancer (oncologist).
How to prepare
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Try to:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to take in all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
Questions to ask
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For testicular cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have testicular cancer?
- What type of testicular cancer do I have?
- Can you explain my pathology report to me? Can I have a copy of my pathology report?
- What is the stage of my testicular cancer?
- What is the grade of my testicular cancer?
- Will I need any additional tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the chances that treatment will cure my testicular cancer?
- What are the side effects and risks of each treatment option?
- Is there one treatment that you think is best for me?
- What would you recommend to a friend or family member in my situation?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- If I would like a second opinion, can you recommend a specialist?
- I'm concerned about my ability to have children in the future. What can I do before treatment to plan for the possibility of infertility?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions that come to mind during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Ryan CJ, et al. Testicular cancer. In: Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:1713.
- Testicular cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Richie JP, et al. Neoplasms of the testis. In: Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1445/0.html. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Testicular self examination (TSE). American Urological Association Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=101. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Ilic D, et al. Screening for testicular cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;CD007853. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.