Life after treatment for testicular cancer

After treatment

After you have finished treatment, you will have regular follow-up appointments at the hospital. You’ll have blood tests for tumour markers. Sometimes you may have other scans or x-rays. If the tumour markers go up, this can be a sign that the cancer has come back and means you need more treatment.

If there is anything worrying you between appointments, contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice.

How will I feel?

You might find it embarrassing to talk about your private parts and how the cancer or cancer treatment has affected you. It can feel awkward talking to doctors or your family about this.

Try not to let this stop you talking about things. It can help to let someone know how you are feeling.

You could talk to:

  • your specialist nurse or keyworker
  • family or friends 
  • a counsellor – this can be arranged by your nurses
  • other young people in a similar situation, for example through our online community or a support group.

Relationships

You may be worried about how the cancer will affect your relationships now or in the future. You may also worry about whether it will affect your sex life. We have more information about the physical and emotional effects that cancer can have on your sex life and relationships.

How treatment can affect sex

Some treatments for testicular cancer may affect your sex drive and your ability to get an erection or ejaculate. This may affect your sex life now or in the future. It can also change your feelings about your body (body image). But there are treatments and things that can help with these changes. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or nurse for advice. We have information about body image or people of all ages.

If you’ve had an operation for testicular cancer, this may affect your ability to have sex. This may happen if you had an operation to remove both testicles, or the lymph nodes at the back of your tummy (abdomen).

Coping with changes to your sex life can be tough with everything else you’re going through. Or it may become more important to you in the future. Your specialist nurse can support you and help you find more advice and support if you need it. Our information on life after cancer treatment goes into this in more detail.

If you identify as gay, bisexual or trans you may worry about talking to your health care team about this. Try to let your doctor or nurse know if there are any issues you want to talk about. So they can give you the right information and support.

If you can’t talk to your healthcare team, the LGBT Foundation has a helpline (0345 3 30 30 30). They can give you confidential advice and support.

Contraception

If you have sex during or after some treatments, you will need to use contraception. You should use condoms to protect your partner from cancer drugs or treatments that can affect your semen. Your doctor will give you advise about this.

It is also very important to use contraception with female partners to avoid pregnancy during and after cancer treatment. This is because the treatment can affect your sperm and harm a baby during pregnancy.

Fertility

Fertility means your ability to have children. Some cancers and cancer treatments can affect your fertility. But your doctors will always think about this when they plan your treatment. Your doctor will talk to you about sperm banking before treatment if this might happen.

If only one of your testicles has been removed, the other one should still make sperm. So your fertility is not affected.

If you have both testicles removed, then your body will not make sperm any more. You won’t be able to make someone pregnant through sex after this treatment. Your healthcare team will talk to you about sperm banking before you have this surgery.

During treatment, you may have the lymph nodes at the back of your tummy (abdomen) removed. This can affect how your body releases sperm, which can also affect your fertility.

If you have chemotherapy, it might affect your ability to make sperm. After chemotherapy, you can have a sperm sample checked to see if this has happened. If you are having a course of chemotherapy, you can still have sex. But you should always wear a condom while the treatment is going on and for a few months afterwards. This is to protect your partner from the chemotherapy drugs in your body. With female partners, this is also to avoid pregnancy, as the drugs could harm a developing baby.

Back to Testicular cancer

The testicles

Understanding more about what the testicles do might make it easier for you to talk about them.

Having tests

You may have tests to help your doctors see whether you have testicular cancer.

Treatment

The main treatments for testicular cancer are surgery and chemotherapy.