How can patients and their families cope with testicular cancer?
When people have cancer, life can change–for them and for the people who care about them. These changes in daily life can be difficult to handle. When a man learns that he has testicular cancer, it is natural to have many different and sometimes confusing emotions. At times, patients and family members may be frightened, angry or depressed. Their feelings may vary from hope to despair or from courage to fear. Some men will isolate themselves and will become angry when confronted. Patients are usually better able to handle these feelings if they talk about their illness and share their feelings with family members and friends, but they’ll need to do this on their own. Forcing them to talk will probably backfire.
Concerns about the future – as well as about medical tests and treatments, hospital stays, medical bills, and sexuality – are common. Talking with doctors, nurses, or other members of the health care team may help ease fear and confusion. Patients should ask questions about their disease and its treatment and take an active part in decisions about their medical care. Patients and family members often find it helpful to write down questions as they think of them to prepare for the next visit to the doctor. Taking notes during talks with the doctor can be a useful aid to memory. Patients should ask the doctor to repeat or explain anything that is not clear.
Most people want to know what kind of cancer they have, how it can be treated, and how successful the treatment is likely to be. The patient’s doctor is the best person to answer questions and give advice about working or other activities. If it is difficult to talk with the doctor about feelings and other very personal matters, patients may find it helpful to talk with others facing similar problems. This kind of help is available through support groups, such as those described in the next section. If the patient or his family finds that emotional problems become too hard to handle, a mental health counsellor may be able to help.
Options for fertility preservation may exist prior to and after cancer treatment, however it is very important that you talk to your specialist about fertility before you start your treatment – and if necessary be referred to a fertility specialist – to ensure you have the full picture. Many options for fertility preservation may be funded through the public health system.
For more information please contact Fertility Associates.