Radiation therapy uses focused high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Usually lower doses of radiation can be used to treat testicular cancer than are used for other cancers. The radiation therapist designs a specific course of radiation for your individual cancer. Before treatment, lead blocks are designed to protect surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiation therapy doesn’t hurt, but you may experience some common side effects:
- diarrhea and/or nausea
- loss of hair at the site of radiation
- skin redness
These unpleasant side effects resolve within a few months of treatment.
Some men experience infertility as a result of radiation therapy. Individual results vary, but fertility may return after healing of the treated areas.
For patients with seminoma-type testicular cancer, radiation therapy may be used to kill cancer cells that have spread to the lymph nodes.