Frequently Asked Questions about Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is not a topic that is often discussed but many men have lots of questions that they are reluctant to ask. The time has come to clarify a few things so we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about this form of cancer for you.
This cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men. Around 2,200 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK.
Can testicular cancer cause infertility?
Many men go on to father children after receiving treatment for testicular cancer. However, in some cases treatment does lead to reduced fertility or infertility, particularly in the following situations:
– Both testicles have been removed;
– During surgery, certain nerve tracts have been damaged or removed. This leads to a so-called “dry orgasm”, in which no sperm is released;
– By chemotherapy or radiotherapy if the testicles are in the treated area.
The doctor will inform you in advance about the risk of infertility. If you would like to have children, you can choose to freeze sperm before surgery.
What are the chances of cure testicular cancer?
If testicular cancer is detected early and treated, the chances of a cure are more than 99 percent. It is, therefore, very important that you check your testicles regularly for any bumps, lumps or other abnormalities. If you find anything untoward, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
What are the chances of the disease returning?
If you have had testicular cancer, the chances of it returning are slightly higher (2 to 3 percent). Fortunately, however, it is relatively rare for testicular cancer to come back after a successful treatment. The likelihood also diminishes over time: after five years, it is very rare for a man to be hit by this cancer for the second time. If this cancer does reoccur in one of the testicles, you will be treated a second time and more intensively.
Can I get a prosthesis after surgery?
The removal of a testicle can be quite profound. Many men struggle with the change in appearance; the genitals look very different with only one testicle and this can lead to feelings of shame, insecurity or depression. It is possible to fit a prosthesis so the missing testicle is not noticeable. The surgeon can fit a prosthesis directly after the removal of the cancerous testicle. However, you can also choose to do this at a later date. Check your insurance company to find out if a fitting of a prosthesis is covered.
Is testicular cancer hereditary?
There seems to be a link between DNA and testicular cancer: in some families, this disease is more common. If you have a close relative who has had testicular cancer, you are, therefore, more at risk of developing the disease yourself. The research into the relationship between DNA and the increased risk of this cancer is still in progress and, so far, not much is known about it. However, one thing is clear – white men are far more likely to develop this cancer than men of Asian or African descent.
Can testicular cancer be caused by masturbation?
There are a lot of misconceptions about testicular cancer. For clarity:
– Cancer is not caused by masturbation;
– Testicular cancer is not contagious;
– Testicular cancer is not an STI; it is not a result of unsafe sex.
Will I continue to experience symptoms after treatment?
The symptoms that sometimes occur after treatment of testicular cancer, such as sexual problems (difficulty climaxing or a different feeling at the climax), are quickly resolved in most cases. However, you might continue to suffer from residual symptoms for a long time, such as:
– High blood pressure;
– High cholesterol levels;
– Heart problems;
– A reduced or non-existent libido;
– Breast development;
Will my testosterone production be affected?
Some symptoms, such as breast development, depression and a reduced libido may arise due to a lack of testosterone. This hormone is largely created in the testicles, and the surgery can reduce its production. A doctor can determine your testosterone levels and treat if necessary. The risk of cardiovascular disease means that it is wise to regularly check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
If you have any symptoms that could indicate testicular cancer, go to a doctor. The sooner you get there, the greater your chance of cure!