Germ Cell Cancer

There Are Two Types Of Germ Cell Cancer

Gonadal Germ Cell Tumors: these develop from germ cells in the gonads (reproductive organs) and stay in this system

Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors: these develop from cells in the gonads then move throughout the body

* usually occur in the lower spinal column and the center of the chest

These tumors generally occur in younger people from ages 3-30


Tests and Diagnosis

Doctors can preform blood tests to check for high levels of alphafetoprotein, a common tumor marker for germ cell cancer

Imaging tests including ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans can detect the cancer as well


Stage 1: tumor is completely removed by surgery (90% cure rate)

* no chemotherapy needed

Stage 2: tumor is removed with a few cancer cells left behind (90% cure rate)

* chemo three days a week for three cycles

Stage 3: tumor has spread to the lymph nodes (87% cure rate)

* chemo three days a week for three cycles

Stage 4: tumor has spread throughout the body (82% cure rate)

* chemo three days a week for four cycles

Very few have long lasting side effects from the treatment


Family History, Exposure to Carcinogenic substances, and Genetics are all possible risk factors for Germ Cell Cancer

* prenatal estrogen exposure is a carcinogen


The more common of the treatments for this particular cancer is first surgery then next, chemotherapy

There are a few clinical trials for germ cell cancer including one which gives lower doses and fewer cycles of chemo after surgery for malignant ovarian germ cell cancers

germ cell tumors have a tendency to return

Because germ cells can end up in many places throughout the body the cancer has a tendency to recur after treatments for the original tumor
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