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Information for Parents

Germ Cell Tumors

  • What is this disease?

    • Germ cell tumours develop from cells that produce eggs or sperm  and can affect the ovaries or testes. However, it is possible for a germ cell tumour to develop in other parts of the body. As a baby develops during pregnancy, the cells producing eggs or sperm normally move to the ovaries or testes. However, occasionally they can settle in other parts of the body where they can develop into tumors. The most common places for this to happen are the bottom of the spine (sacrococcygeal), the brain, chest, and abdomen. Germ cell tumors are sometimes given different names based on their characteristics. These include yolk-sac tumours, germinomas, embryonal carcinomas, mature teratomas and immature teratomas.

  • How it is diagnosed?

    • The symptoms depend on where the tumor develops. Usually it starts with a lump that can either be felt or causes other symptoms. Diagnosis is by biopsy and CT Scan or  MRI  be used to see the exact position of a tumor within the body. Chest X-rays may be taken to see if there’s a tumor in the lungs. Tumor markers like alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) can be used for diagnosis.

  • How it is treated?

    • Treatment for germ cells tumor depends on  site and stage. The treatment usually includes chemotherapy and surgery.

  • When it should be operated?

    • The decision to operate will depend upon clinical condition and stage of the tumor.

  • Are there other alternative methods of treatment?

    • Chemotherapy, or surgery are all used in different combinations for treatment.

  • What all I need to know before my child surgery?

    • Read “All you need to know before your child's surgery” information booklet in website.

  • How is the surgery done?

    • Surgery involves removal of mass and varies according to lobe involved.

  • Remarks

    • For more details of surgery, contact your surgeon

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