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To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 03:25

My son has had a testicle removed & a ct shows no further sign of cancer. He's been offered chemotherapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning from 20% to 2% but is afraid of the side effects- has anyone any experience please? Should he risk the chemotherapy treatment? 

To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 09:15 in response to PammieH

Hello PammieH,

                         in my mind THERISK is in not having the chemo. The chemo is no risk,just potentially hard for a while,but does provide a clear mind long term from the "what if" doubts of any recurrance, mine was brutal but reassuring in that a permanent eviction had taken place.

  Hope it goes well whichever way he jumps,

                                                                        David                                                     

 

To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 17:01 in response to PammieH

Hello PammieH and thanks for posting,

Treatment decisions are often challenging and many people struggle with them, but I'm sure you know, only your son can decide what to do. 

I think it is important that your son understands all the information he has been given by his specialist team to help him reach a decision. There is often quite a lot to take in and it can be overwhelming,  so do encourage him to get back in touch if there is anything he isn't sure about. 

In some situations with testicular cancer, there is a choice between having chemotherapy immediately after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back, or being carefully monitored (this is called surveillance) and if the cancer does come back, having chemotherapy then. If this choice is on the table, your son's medical team should have explained the pros and cons of both, if they haven't, do tell your son to ask.

There are some risks involved in having any cancer treatment because of the possible side effects. But in general these are outweighed by the potential for benefit, for example by preventing a cancer from coming back.

Even when there is no sign of spread on a CT scan and the operation has gone well, there can be a chance of some cancer cells remaining in the body. This is because they could have escaped before surgery but be too small to be seen on a scan. Over time if they survive and grow, then the cancer will come back. The idea ot chemotherapy after surgery is to kill off any cancer cells that may still be around.  

I am not sure what sort of chemotherapy schedule would be used to treat your son, but there is one called BEP (you can read about it at this link) which might be what the doctors would want to recommend, your son would need to check with them. 

Reading about possible side effects is usually daunting. Side effects can vary from person to person and it isn't possible to say how things will go for an individual, so even if someone posts to say how they got on, your son might have a different experience.

Whatever he decides, I do think it is important that your son feels comfortable about it going forward. Do encourage him to talk to his doctors or specialist nurse (if he has one) and to take the time he needs.

You are both welcome to give us a call if you want to talk anything over. Our number is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and we are around from Monday-Friday, 9-5.

Best wishes, 

Julia

To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 21:25 in response to PammieH

Thanks for your reply 

To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 21:27 in response to CRUK Nurse Julia

Thanks - my son is very reluctant to talk about it but I know talking it through is the best way - I will encourage him to give you a call and thanks again 

To have chemotherapy or not

8 Apr 2021 21:27 in response to gruntifen

Thanks David for replying 

To have chemotherapy or not

9 Apr 2021 01:09 in response to PammieH

I had a single dose of carboplatin 2 weeks ago to reduce the chance of my testicular cancer coming back. I felt normal for the first couple of days, followed by a day of feeling sick, and then two days of pretty bad fatigue. Since then I've been pretty good and feel back to normal now to be honest. It really hasn't been that bad in my opinion, it would be much worse to have the ~12 weeks of BEP if it did come back. Hope this helps.

To have chemotherapy or not

11 Apr 2021 20:45 in response to ap17

Thanks so much ap17 that is very reassuring 

To have chemotherapy or not

11 Apr 2021 20:46 in response to gruntifen

Thanks so much