Germ Cell Tumors

Posted
by stellina615 stellina615 Member

Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology, Psych. Has 1 years experience.

I'm a relatively new nurse who recently got a position on a med/surg oncology floor. I'm trying to understand germ cell tumors and how they come about. I know that germ cells are either eggs or sperm, depending on the sex of the patient. The questions I have are:

-If a patient has a germ cell tumor in a part of the body such as the lungs or head or neck, does that mean that the cancer had to have originated in the testes or ovaries and metastasized? In other words, can someone have a germ cell tumor without having involvement of the sex organs? And if so, how does the germ cell migrate from the sex organs to another place in the body?

Thanks to anyone who's willing to help me get a better understanding of this!

mamamerlee

mamamerlee, LPN

Specializes in home health, dialysis, others. Has 35 years experience. 949 Posts

I just googled 'germ cell tumors'. Lots of info there.

tfleuter

tfleuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 11 years experience. 589 Posts

A family member of mine had a germ cell tumor several years ago. It was found in his thoracic cavity and when removed, approx 4.5lbs. It did not involve any other part of his body and a couple rounds of chemo were needed.

stellina615

stellina615

Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology, Psych. Has 1 years experience. 146 Posts

tfleuter, thank you for the response. Glad to know that your family member recovered well. Any idea how the germ cell would make its way from the gonadal region to the thoracic cavity? Thanks again for writing back!

tfleuter

tfleuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 11 years experience. 589 Posts

I was told, as it was explained to him, that as a developing embryo, not all cells reach their intended destination. In his case, a germ cell did not travel to the gential region and instead stopped in his thorax. He was told this happens all the time, but in his case, this particular cell turned cancerous and developed into a massive tumor (grew to its size in less than 4 months). I don't think they ever really knew what caused it. I've never actually looked into it more than what he was told, but now that I'm a nursing student, I've become a bit more curious about it. Guess I'll have to do my own research too ;)