Guest blog by Caroline Kelley.
Myth or Fact: Testicular Cancer Causes Infertility
Both: Although testicular cancer is not a direct cause of infertility, the treatment methods used can have an effect on hormone levels and a man’s ability to father children. Chemotherapy and orchiectomy (the removal of the testicle) have been linked to causing infertility in men with testicular cancer. If you are or a loved one is being treated, you should talk with your doctor about the possible side effects to learn the risks and which options may be best for you.
Many survivors do go on to live happy and healthy lives, while still fathering their own biological children. Because it is usually developed in only one testicle, the remaining testicle has the ability to produce enough testosterone to keep you healthy. In some cases of orchiectomy, the remaining testicle may have previously been underdeveloped or undescended previously and could cause fertility issues.
Myth or Fact: I Don’t Need Fertility Preservation
Both: If you have been diagnosed with Testicular cancer, considering fertility preservation is highly recommended by most urologists. The cryopreservation method that is used in preserving sperm, freezes the sperm as they are in their current state until they are later thawed. Once thawed, a certain percentage of them can be used to increase sperm count and the probability of being able to father children. This method has been used for many years and is a safe and effective method of preserving your sperm.
It is a smart idea to create a safety option before proceeding with treatment in the case of infertility. Patients often consider long-term freezing of sperm because they are at risk for sterilization, reduction in fertility potential or genetic damage. Because the disease can cause low sperm counts, it is crucial to do this in the early stages to ensure you can gather a large enough sample.
Myth or Fact: Tight Underwear Can Cause Infertility Issues
Fact: This debate has been highly controversial for decades. While the research still varies, experts still suggest wearing comfortable base layers that allow the area to breathe and are less restrictive. One thing researchers have been able to agree on is that tight underwear increases the temperature of the scrotum, therefore creating a potential for sperm to die off and decrease sperm levels. Testes are located outside of the body because they need to have an internal temperature lower than the average body temperature. Anything including tight underwear, tight pants or restrictive clothing can cause the temperature to rise.
Myth or Fact: I Will Lose My Sex Drive
Myth: Because most men only develop cancer in one testicle, the remaining testicle can produce enough testosterone to keep your sex drive at normal levels. It is common to have less of a drive post-surgery, but your libido will ultimately return to normal. If it does not, your doctor will be able to suggest different testosterone supplements that can increase your levels again. Treatments range from injections and skin patches to gels. Most commonly testosterone issues only occur if you have developed cancer in/or removed both testicles.
During this time, it is normal for a patient to experience lower self-esteem both during and after testicular cancer treatment. These feelings of fear, embarrassment, and stress can also have an impact on your libido. Talking about this is the best way to help work through those emotions. As personal as this topic can be to talk about with a doctor or nurse, these are situations they deal with all the time. They will be able to assist you or refer you to a specialist.
Caroline K. is a mindful living enthusiast with a passion for writing about the medical field. She enjoys spending her time outdoors with her dog and researching new advancements in healthcare.