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How are extragonadal germ cell tumors diagnosed?

Your doctor may order a wide array of tests to officially diagnose an extragonadal germ cell tumor. These tests may be grouped into various categories.

In a physical exam, your doctor checks your body for unusual signs or symptoms of disease visible to the naked eye.

In imaging procedures, such as X-rays, CT (CAT) scans, and ultrasound exams, your doctor uses various technologies to create a picture of the inside of your body to see if tumors have developed there.

In a tissue sample analysis, such as a biopsy, your doctor will surgically remove a piece of the tumor to determine if it is a benign teratoma (not likely to become cancer) or malignant (cancer). If it is malignant, the biopsy may also reveal whether the malignancy is of the seminoma or nonseminoma type. Nonseminomas are more likely to spread rapidly and cause death.

In blood tests, your doctor will take a sample of your blood to analyze for substances (tumor markers) that appear only or in higher amounts when you have a germ cell tumor. Blood tests can also help determine whether a tumor is a seminoma or a nonseminoma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.