If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer, you’re not alone. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34. Nevertheless, going through testicular cancer and the treatment process can feel like a lonely journey and is often quite taxing, both physically and emotionally. To add insult to injury, the treatment of testicular cancer typically involves the removal of a testicle.
Unsurprisingly, the removal of a testicle often invokes several logical concerns among patients. Above and beyond complete elimination of the cancer, men usually have three additional fears: aesthetic effects, hormone production, and fertility. These are legitimate concerns, and it is only natural to feel apprehensive about each of them. In most cases, however, you’ll be glad to know that there is little reason to worry about significant long-term effects.
The aesthetic effect of losing a testicle is visibly unnoticeable to others, yet it can still be a source of vulnerability for many men. The absence of a testicle can have significant emotional consequences in some patients. Usually these feelings will heal with time and having a positive attitude is the easiest solution. Nonetheless, if the thought of continuing with one testicle is too painful to bear, prosthetics offer hope. The low-risk procedure allows many to regain a sense of self-assurance.
When it comes to hormones, the body compensates easily. A normal testicle is capable of producing many times the necessary amount of testosterone required by the body. As a result, the remaining testicle can manufacture the amount of testosterone once produced by both testicles. As long as the second testicle is healthy and properly functioning, it can pick up the slack for the missing one without a problem. Some medications can also replace a lack of testosterone, though this is seldom necessary.
Fertility is rarely dramatically affected as a result of losing one testicle. Although removal of a testicle will cause a decreased level of sperm production, usually the resulting amount of sperm produced will be adequate for sexual reproduction. If there is an issue with fertility for one reason or another, many assistive techniques are available to help achieve a pregnancy. If the eradication of your testicular cancer requires additional therapies such as radiation, chemotherapy, or lymph node removal, fertility may be more significantly affected. In such cases, sperm banking in advance of treatment is a desirable option.
Open, clear communication with the physician about these legitimate fears and concerns can lead to appropriate action rather than living with anxieties. Dr. Scott Miller uses his skills and network of medical resources to help all of his patients manage with the outcomes of testicular loss. If you’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Miller, call his office at (404)-705-5201.