Effects on body image
Surgery – If you have had a testicle removed, it may affect how you feel about yourself as a man. You may have less confidence and feel less sexually desirable. Some men adjust quickly to having one testicle, while others find that it takes some time. If you had a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND), you may feel self-conscious about the scar across your abdomen.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy – Any type of cancer treatment can change the way you feel about yourself (your self-esteem). You may feel less confident about who you are and what you can do, particularly if your body has changed physically. Some men find that their sense of identity or masculinity is affected by their cancer experience.
Adjusting to changes to your body
- Give yourself time to get used to any changes to your body. Try to see yourself as a whole person (body, mind and personality) instead of focusing on the parts of you that have changed.
- Talk to other people who have had a similar experience. You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out about our peer support programs or visit the Cancer Council Online Community.
- Let your partner, if you have one, know how you are feeling. Show your partner any changes and let them touch your body, if you are both comfortable with this.
- If you continue to be concerned about your appearance, you may wish to speak to your medical team about getting an artificial testicle (prosthesis).
- You may also find it helpful to talk to a psychologist if you are having trouble adjusting to any changes – ask your GP for a referral.
Podcast: Sex and Cancer
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Benjamin Thomas, Urological Surgeon, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The University of Melbourne, VIC; A/Prof Ben Tran, Genitourinary Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The University of Melbourne, VIC; Dr Nari Ahmadi, Urologist and Urological Cancer Surgeon, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Helen Anderson, Genitourinary Cancer Nurse Navigator, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Anita Cox, Youth Cancer – Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dr Tom Ferguson, Medical Oncologist, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Dr Leily Gholam Rezaei, Radiation Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW; Dheeraj Jain, Consumer; Amanda Maple, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital and Headway Health, NSW.
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