Chemotherapy uses high-potency drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs are taken by mouth or intravenously. Chemotherapy is regularly used to treat testicular cancer that has spread beyond the testicles. Often a combination of drugs is used to attack the cancer cells. Your doctors will design a chemotherapy program that is most effective for your individual needs.

Before beginning treatment, your doctor will explain what to expect from chemotherapy. The following short-term side effects usually resolve within a few months of treatment:

  • tiredness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hair loss (from the head and body)
  • mouth sores
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • increased risk of infection
  • easy bruising or bleeding

Some long-term side effects from chemotherapy may be permanent, while others will eventually disappear. The following is a list of potential long-term effects of chemotherapy treatment.

  • kidney damage
  • damage to small blood vessels, increasing sensitivity to cold
  • nerve damage, causing numbness and tingling sensations
  • hearing loss
  • heart disease
  • lung damage, causing shortness of breath
  • developing a secondary cancer, usually leukemia—occurs in less than 1 percent of patients