Testicular cancer treatment late effects

Some side effects of treatment for testicular cancer may take a long time to improve. Some may become permanent, or develop years after treatment.

Long-term or late effects of treatment

Some side effects that develop during treatment may take a long time to improve. Or some side effects may become permanent (long-term effects). Other effects can develop many years after treatment has finished (late effects). You may not have any of these effects at all. Or they may range from mild to severe.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of these effects. They will monitor them and arrange any tests you need.

Changes in sensation in your hands and feet

You may get pins and needles or numbness in your hands and feet after having chemotherapy for testicular cancer. Or you may develop cold hands and pale fingers. This is called Raynaud’s phenomenon. It is triggered by the cold, so keeping your hands and feet warm can help.

Chemotherapy may also cause changes in the nerves of the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy and it can be temporary but is sometimes permanent. If you have this, you may have a change in sensation in your hands or feet.

Hearing changes

The chemotherapy drug cisplatin can sometimes cause hearing problems, particularly with high-pitched sounds. Hearing changes usually get better after treatment ends. But some can be permanent. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your hearing. You may have a hearing test before you start treatment.

Heart and lung problems

Some chemotherapy drugs may increase your risk of developing heart or lung problems. Radiotherapy to the lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen (retroperitoneal lymph nodes) may also increase the risk of developing heart problems. Some people will have regular follow-up appointments to check their heart health after cancer treatment.

Things that can help to keep your heart and lungs healthy include:

  • doing regular exercise
  • eating healthily
  • keeping to a healthy weight
  • stopping smoking.

It is important to get any new symptom checked by your doctor. Sometimes the symptoms of heart and lung problems are like the symptoms of other conditions. But always tell your doctor if you:

  • have chest discomfort, pain or tightness
  • have pain that spreads to your arm, neck, jaw, stomach or back
  • feel short of breath or have a persistent cough
  • feel unusually tired or weak (fatigued)
  • have swelling in your feet, ankles, tummy or lower back
  • have palpitations, which might feel like a thumping or fluttering in your chest
  • have blackouts (fainting)
  • feel dizzy or light-headed.

Your doctor will monitor them and arrange any necessary tests.

Risk of developing another cancer

Research shows that people who have radiotherapy or chemotherapy for testicular cancer have a slightly increased risk of developing another cancer later. This does not mean that they will definitely develop another cancer. The benefits of having treatment will usually far outweigh this risk.

About our information

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

The language we use

We want everyone affected by cancer to feel our information is written for them.

We want our information to be as clear as possible. To do this, we try to:

  • use plain English
  • explain medical words
  • use short sentences
  • use illustrations to explain text
  • structure the information clearly
  • make sure important points are clear.

We use gender-inclusive language and talk to our readers as ‘you’ so that everyone feels included. Where clinically necessary we use the terms ‘men’ and ‘women’ or ‘male’ and ‘female’. For example, we do so when talking about parts of the body or mentioning statistics or research about who is affected.

You can read more about how we produce our information here.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 May 2022
Next review: 01 May 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.