Managing the Side Effects of Testicular Cancer and Its Treatment
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Testicular cancer and its care can affect sex and fertility. Some problems are:
Nerves, blood vessels, and hormone signals all plays a role in sex. Testicular cancer or its care may cause:
There are many ways to treat these problems. Medicines and hormone replacement may help. In severe cases, surgery and certain devices may be needed.
Male fertility is changed by any care aimed at the genitals. Most men have reduced or zero sperm counts while they're being treated. For the most part, sperm counts will rise after it's over. But this can take up to 4 or more years. Your age or how long you were treated play a role.
To preserve fertility, sperm can be banked before you get treated. This also works for boys who have reached puberty. Sperm banking is collecting and freezing semen. When it's time to start a family, it's thawed and used to fertilize eggs. For boys who have not reached puberty, you can think about preserving testicular tissue. But it's not known how well this works.
Have an honest talk with your doctor about any problems or concerns you have. Your doctor may send you and your partner to a counselor for help.
Cancer and fertility. NCCN—National Comprehensive Cancer Network website. Available at: https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/fertility.aspx. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-treatment-pdq#section/_50. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Treating sexual problems for men with cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/fertility-and-sexual-side-effects/sexuality-for-men-with-cancer/sex-problems.html. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/18/2020
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