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The different types of testicular cancer treatment include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Depending on the severity the cancer, a combination of treatments may be necessary. Other treatment for testicular cancer may include experimental treatment often referred to as clinical trials. Side effects of testicular cancer treatment include loss of hair, fatigue and nausea, as well as more serious side effects like decreased sperm count or infertility. Testicular cancer, most common in men between the ages of 20 and 35, occurs when malignant cells grow in the tissues in one or both of the testicles.
Surgery is usually required as part of testicular cancer treatment. With radical inguinal orchiectomy surgery, an affected testicle is removed. A surgeon will make an incision in the groin and take out the testicle through the scrotum. In some instances, tumors may have spread beyond the testicle and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection surgery may be performed. With this type of surgery, cancer cells that may have advance to the lymph nodes in the groin region are removed. While removal of the lymph nodes will not interfere with a man's ability to achieve erection or orgasm, it may cause him to become infertile.
Another type of testicular cancer treatment is radiation therapy, which involves the use of powerful X-rays to attempt to get rid of cancer cells. With external radiation therapy, a machine outside the body is used to emit radiation at the cancer. Another type of radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy, involves a device that has a radioactive substance sealed inside, which is placed near the cancer. Radiation therapy is generally used only as localized treatment. A drawback of radiation therapy is that it may temporarily hinder the production of sperm.
Through chemotherapy, the testicular cancer is treated with drugs that aim to kill the cancer cells or prevent the cells from multiplying. Drugs are taken orally or injected. The drugs travel through the blood stream, reaching the parts of the body where the cancer may have spread.
Participation in clinical trials is another option for patients with testicular cancer. Clinical trials involve the research of new treatments. A patient who agrees to partake in clinical trials may be among the first to receive an innovative type of treatment that shows potential. A person participating in clinical trials must understand that they are volunteering to be exposed to a treatment that is so far unproven, and that the effectiveness of the drugs, as well as potential side effects, are still being studied.