Life after treatment for testicular cancer
Treatments for testicular cancer can have short-term and longer-term side effects. Short-term side effects are discussed with each treatment at Testicular cancer treatment.
Learn more about:
- Managing treatment effects
- Effects on fertility
- Effects on sexuality and intimacy
- Changes to body image
- Follow-up appointments
- Dealing with feelings of sadness
- Looking after yourself
Managing treatment effects
For most people, the cancer experience doesn’t end on the last day of treatment. Life after testicular cancer treatment can present its own challenges. You may have mixed feelings when treatment ends, and worry that every ache and pain means the cancer is coming back.
Some people find that their sexuality, fertility and body image are affected in the longer term. It may take time to adjust to any changes. Here we offer some tips on managing changes to fertility, sexuality and intimacy and body image.
Other people say that they feel pressure to return to “normal life”. It is important to allow yourself time to adjust to the physical and emotional changes, and establish a new daily routine at your own pace. Your family and friends may also need time to adjust.
Cancer Council 13 11 20 can help you connect with other people who have had cancer, and provide you with information about the emotional and practical aspects of living well after cancer.
For more on this, see Living well after cancer.
After treatment ends, you will have regular appointments to monitor your health, manage any side effects and check that the cancer hasn’t come back or spread. During these check-ups, you will usually have a physical examination and you may have blood tests, x-rays or scans.
Treatment for testicular cancer usually has a good outcome and the majority of people with early stage cancer will be cured. Only about 2–3% of people who have had cancer in one testicle develop cancer in the other testicle. However, some people have a recurrence of cancer in another part of the body. It’s important to go to all your follow-up appointments, as tests can detect cancer recurrence early.
When a follow-up appointment or test is approaching, many people may feel anxious. Talk to your treatment team or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 if you are finding it hard to manage this anxiety. Check-ups will become less frequent if you have no further problems. Between follow-up appointments, it’s important to let your doctor know immediately of any symptoms or health problems.
Dealing with feelings of sadness
If you have continued feelings of sadness, have trouble getting up in the morning or have lost motivation to do things that previously gave you pleasure, you may be experiencing depression. This is quite common among people who have had cancer.
Talk to your GP, as counselling or medication – even for a short time – may help. Some people can get a Medicare rebate for sessions with a psychologist. Ask your doctor if you are eligible. Cancer Council may also run a counselling program in your area.
The Thing About Cancer podcast
Listen to our podcast The Thing About Cancer for information and insights that can help you navigate through the challenges of living with cancer.
Looking after yourself
Cancer can cause physical and emotional strain, so it’s important to look after your wellbeing. Cancer Council has free booklets and programs to help you during and after treatment.
Call 13 11 20 to find out more, or see Managing cancer side effects, Exercise after a cancer diagnosis, Complementary therapies, Emotions and cancer, Nutrition and cancer, Sexuality, intimacy and cancer, Fertility and cancer and Practical concerns.
Alternative therapies are therapies used instead of conventional medical treatments. These are unlikely to be scientifically tested and may prevent successful treatment of the cancer. Cancer Council does not recommend the use of alternative therapies as a cancer treatment.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Declan Murphy, Urologist and Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Senior Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and The University of Adelaide, SA; Clinical A/Prof Peter Grimison, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Tanya Holt, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology Princess Alexandra Hospital Raymond Terrace (ROPART), QLD; Brodie Kitson, Consumer; Elizabeth Medhurst, Genitourinary and Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) Nurse Consultant, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rosemary Watson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.