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Testicular Cancer Radiation Therapy

In cases of testicular cancer, radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy) is a commonly used treatment method. Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. When used to treat testicular cancer, radiation therapy may cause side effects, including fatigue, skin changes, loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea.

Testicular Cancer Radiation Therapy: An Overview

A commonly used method of treating testicular cancer, radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is a local therapy, meaning that it affects cancer cells only in the treated areas. External radiation (from a machine outside the body), aimed at the lymph nodes in the abdomen, is used to treat seminomas (see Types of Testicular Cancer) and is usually administered after testicular cancer surgery. Men who have nonseminomas usually do not undergo radiation therapy; nonseminomas are less sensitive to radiation. Radiation therapy for testicular cancer will affect normal as well as cancerous cells, and the side effects of radiotherapy will mainly depend on the treatment dose.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer

Common side effects of testicular cancer radiation therapy include:
  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes at the site where the treatment is given
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea.
Although radiation therapy for testicular cancer interferes with sperm production, many patients regain their fertility over a period of 1 to 2 years.
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