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Psychological Impact


Most people feel overwhelmed when they are told they have cancer, even if the chance of cure is very high. Many different emotions arise, which can cause confusion and frequent changes of mood. You may experience fear, resentment, and anger. Reactions differ from one person to another and there is no right or wrong way to feel. These emotions are part of the process that many people go through in trying to come to terms with their illness. Partners, family members and friends often experience similar feelings and frequently need as much support and guidance in coping.

Often the information that you will get at diagnosis will be overwhelming and you may not fully appreciate the implications of what has been said. As well as having to deal with your own feelings and fears, you may also find that a cancer diagnosis and treatment impacts on your relationships in unexpected ways, adding stress when you feel least able to cope with it. Whether at the point of diagnosis or after treatment being able to explore your concerns with someone who understands how challenging a cancer diagnosis can be will allow you to discover the best way to confront what has happened to you. Many treatment centres will have a team of specialist cancer counsellors who may be able to help men talk about their fears and worries during or after treatment. It is always a good idea to ask the specialist team if counselling is available.


You may find that talking to a professional cancer counsellor can help you come to terms with certain aspects of your life. Professional cancer counsellors are aware of the issues that may be difficult to cope with. They also have the benefit of not being part of your family or friendship group.

Orchid Male Cancer Telephone Counselling Service

Orchid Male Cancer has a free telephone counselling service for men affected by testicular cancer in the UK. It offers up to six counselling sessions over the phone at a time that is convenient. It also offers a degree of anonymity which men may find beneficial, rather than talk face to face with a counsellor. For more information email robert.cornes@orchid-cancer.org.uk

Physical Impact

The effects of chemotherapy can take some time to wear off, and you may feel tired and lethargic for a few months after treatment. Research has shown that trying to stay active during this time can help your recovery. This does not have to be extreme activity but going for brisk walks or performing gentle resistance exercises can make you feel better and help your body to recover.

Chemotherapy can increase the risk of future medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, so it is important that where possible you maintain a healthy lifestyle, keeping to a healthy, varied diet and performing regular exercise.

Sex Life

The removal of one testicle will not usually affect sexual performance or the ability to father children, providing the other testicle is healthy and working normally. This is because the remaining healthy testicle will produce enough testosterone and sperm to compensate. If both testicles are removed, then testosterone replacement therapy will be needed This can be given in the form of injections or gels and should enable a man to have normal sexual intercourse.

Cancer treatment may make men lose interest in sex. This is called loss of libido and is common to many illnesses, not just cancer. It is worrying, but it is usually a temporary side effect and once treatment is over and the body begins to return to normal, libido will usually also return. Sexual problems are very personal and very important, and talking about them can be a great help. Sexual relationships are built on many things including love, trust, and common experiences. Men may even find a new closeness after talking through a problem with their partner. Some hospitals have specialist counsellors (psychosexual counsellors) who are trained to help people with sexual concerns. If men are worried about this, they should ask their doctor or nurse specialist for further information. One common fear is that cancer cells can be passed on to a partner during sex. This is not true. Cancer is not infectious, and it is perfectly safe to have sexual intercourse.

Peer Support

Talking to other men who have been through a similar experience to you can be very helpful and there are several online support groups and networks.

In the UK the Testicular Cancer Network is made up of 8 small regional charities specialising in supporting men who have been through treatment.

In Europe there is a similar network, details can be found here

There is also a large UK based online support group Testicular Cancer Support Group which is a closed Facebook Group. This has over 300 members who have been affected by testicular cancer and is regulated by several specialist nurses.