Follow up after testicular cancer treatment
After treatment, you have regular check ups at the hospital. You also have tests including blood tests, x-rays and scans. Over time, these appointments become less frequent.
Why you have follow up appointments
Your doctor might monitor you closely after surgery to remove your testicle. These appointments are to check for early signs of the cancer coming back so that it can be found and treated early. Doctors call this surveillance. You can start treatment if there is any sign that your cancer has come back.
You also have regular follow up appointments and tests after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. These are to check how you are and see whether you have any problems or worries. And to look for any signs of the cancer coming back.
The appointments also give you the chance to raise any concerns you have about your progress.
How often are my appointments?
How often you see your specialist depends on:
- your type and stage of testicular cancer
- your risk of the cancer coming back or spreading
- the type of treatment you have had
You might see your doctor between 2 and 4 times a year. You might also have some scans before your clinic appointment.
Over time, the risk of the cancer coming back goes down. Your appointments become less frequent.
What happens at the appointment?
Your doctor will examine you and check your other testicle. They will ask you how you feel. You can tell your doctor about:
- any new or ongoing symptoms
- any emotional or sexual problems caused by the cancer or treatment
This helps your doctor give you the best care and support.
You usually have some tests, although you might not have all of these tests at each appointment. Tests include:
- blood tests to check the tumour marker levels
- chest x-rays
- CT scans
Contact your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any concerns between appointments. You should also contact them if you notice any new symptoms. You don’t have to wait until your next visit.
How you may feel
Some people find it very stressful to know they need follow up for cancer. You can talk this through with your doctor or specialist nurse. They can:
- reassure you
- explain how often you will have checks
- explain the treatment you may have if the cancer does come back
There is currently no evidence linking stress to cancer.
It can be very helpful to have counselling after cancer treatment or during longer term treatments.
What you can do for yourself
To keep healthy and feel you are doing something positive you can:
- eat a healthy diet
- try to learn to relax
- try to stop smoking
- note any new symptoms and report them to your doctor
A diet high in fresh fruit, vegetables and fish and low in animal fats is good for your health.
Relaxing will help you feel better and may help you cope better too. You could try a new hobby or relaxation techniques.