Side Effect Management

It helps to learn more about the side effects from your treatment(s) before you begin, so you will know what to expect. When you know more, you can work with your health care team to manage your quality of life during and after treatment.

There are effective and readily available medications to address traditional side effects from cancer treatment (such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation and mouth sores.) Also, as newer 'targeted therapies' become available, they tend to leave people with fewer traditional side effects.

Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to treatment and experiences side effects differently. There are coping mechanisms and strategies that can help.

Side Effects from Testicular Treatments

Side effects from treatments vary. Following are the most common symptoms:

Surgery
Some men also need lymph nodes removed from the abdomen. This can cause problems with fertility if it affects ejaculation.

Radiation Therapy
Side effects depend on dose and include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and skin changes at the radiation site. Radiation therapy does interfere with sperm production, but most patients regain fertility 1 to 2 years after radiation.

Chemotherapy 
Side effects depend on the specific drugs and the dose. Common side effects include nausea, hair loss, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, chills, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, mouth sores or skin rash. Other side effects are dizziness, numbness, loss of reflexes and difficulty hearing. Men who undergo high does of chemotherapy can experience destruction of bone marrow, and may need a bone marrow transplant.

In addition, some cancer drugs reduce sperm count. Most patients recover their fertility, but it can be permanent for some patients. Men with testicular cancer often have fertility problems before their cancer is treated. Testicular cancer patients should discuss concerns about sexual function with their doctors, as well as options such as sperm banking.

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