Life after treatment for testicular cancer can require some adjustments and a good deal of patience. Dr. Jerman, what can you tell us about life after treatment?
Well, Dr. Reynolds, ongoing care is very important after treatment. A provider can explain what follow-up tests a man may need and how often they should be performed. Follow-up care usually includes regular physical exams, along with blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, or other imaging scans.
It's important that patients are aware of any signs or symptoms that their cancer may be coming back or that any new problems are arising. There's a slight chance that men who have had cancer in one testicle may develop cancer in the other testicle at a later time.
Testicular cancer or its treatment can make a man infertile. Before treatment starts, men who wish to have children later may decide to save sperm in a sperm bank for future use. In some cases, this may be difficult because testicular cancer can cause low sperm counts. If one testicle remains, fertility may return, either temporarily or permanently, after treatment.
Fatigue after completing cancer treatment is common. Men need time to recover, both physically and emotionally. It's important that they don't force a return to work or regular activities immediately.
Cancer survivors should do as much as they can to stay healthy and active. Eating a well balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise are important for physical, mental, and emotional health.
Communication and support from friends and family are also key elements of successful recovery. Many men find it helpful to join a support group or to talk to a mental health professional during their recovery.