Managing the Side Effects of Testicular Cancer and Its Treatment
Testicular cancer and its care can affect sex and fertility. Some problems are:
- Sperm cells or hormones cannot be made if both testicles are taken out. The person will not be able to father children. It will also cause problems in how the body works. Keep in mind that 1 healthy testicle can make enough sperm and hormones.
- Nerve or blood vessel damage.
It is important to talk to the doctor about problems or concerns. Counseling can also help.
Nerves, blood vessels, and hormone signals all plays a role in sex. Testicular cancer or its care may cause:
- Erectile dysfunction—Problems with or inability to get or keep an erection
- Retrograde ejaculation—Semen is sent to the bladder instead of out of the body during ejaculation. This can be caused by nerve or muscle damage
- Pain during sex—There may be some irritation in the prostate gland or urethra
- Lower sex drive—May be caused by change in hormones
There are many ways to treat these problems. Medicines and hormone replacement may help. In severe cases, surgery and certain devices may be needed.
Managing male sexual problems related to 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.
Parekh NV, Lundy SD, Vij SC. Fertility considerations in men with testicular cancer. Transl Androl Urol. 2020;9(Suppl 1):S14-S23.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-treatment-pdq#section/_50.
- Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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