Specific cancer treatment can involve a multi-modal treatment approach, which means there may be a combination of various treatments. These treatments can include surgery, can include radiation therapy, and or chemotherapy. All of these types of treatments can have certain impacts on a patient. The surgery can carry certain risks, or potential side effects.
A couple of the side effects that we talk about with a lot of the treatments for testicular cancer include, effects on fertility, because sperm production in the testicles can be affected through either chemotherapy. Also the ability to have ejaculation or normal ejaculation can also be sometimes by some of the surgeries we do to remove lymph nodes from the abdominal area.
So, all these processes can affect a person's fertility, either following treatment or during treatment. And this can certainly have an impact on lifestyle. We often advise our patients upfront prior to undergoing any of these treatments to bank their sperm. We advise patients to preserve their sperm at a sperm bank so that they can use it in the future if necessary.
In general the treatments that we have don't usually affect the patients sexual function in the form of erections. But certainly some of the treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy carry many other potential side effects that while you're undergoing treatment you could experience, nausea, vomiting, various other complications. So, it could be a process to get through some of these treatments.
However, in most cases of testicular cancer, because there's such a high success rate in treatment. And over a 90 to 95 percent survival rate with testicular cancer patients, most patients will complete their treatments, and then go on to live their lives.
Now in that period of time following treatment many patients will get to their normal lifestyle without too much of a problem.
As all this potential side effect issues resolve, and most patients can lead a perfectly healthy, and normal life. So, hopefully this is reassurance to any patients out there that are diagnosed with testicular cancer. The treatment process can be difficult, but it's very important to understand that we can get you on with your normal lifestyle following completion of your treatment protocols.
With cancer patients, following completion of your treatment, there's a process of what we call surveillance. Over the course of several years, we're going to be monitoring things for you. And it's very important that you stick to the monitoring and surveillance protocol which involves checking testicular tumor markers, doing imaging tests such as chest x-rays, or abdominal imaging. And this is done to ensure that you don't develop recurrence of cancer down the road.
No matter what type or what stage you have there's always a risk that cancer can pop up elsewhere or show up in the future. So, very important during that process after completion of your treatments, you may feel reassured in knowing that you're doing great, and you're cured of your disease which in most cases you are. But there's some risk of recurrence. So important that during that process afterwards to maintain your close surveillance with your physician, and keep your follow-up appointments.