Potential Side Effects from Surgery for Testicular Cancer

The goal of surgery for testicular cancer is to remove the tumor. However, this surgery can have potential side effects. Before your surgery, your surgeon will explain these possible side effects to you. After surgery, your health care team will work closely with you to manage or ease as many side effects as possible. Here are some possible side effects that men with testicular cancer have after surgery. Ask your doctor which ones are most likely to happen to you:

  • Pain in the area where the tumor was removed or near the incision. This can be controlled with medication.

  • Problems with anesthesia

  • Reduced fertility. If you might want to have children in the future, talk to your doctor about preserving a sample of your sperm before surgery. This is called sperm banking.

  • Damage to your nerves that can leave you unable to ejaculate. The medical name for this is retrograde ejaculation. This is most common in men who have had a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. (This type of surgery does not affect a man's ability to have erections.) Newer, nerve-sparing surgical techniques can help avoid this side effect.

  • Being unhappy with the altered appearance of your scrotum. If this is an issue, talk to your doctor about testicular implants.

  • Slower than normal healing

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Inability to drive, lift, cook, or perform other daily activities until you heal

  • Depression or anxiety

Although the side effects of surgery cannot be completely avoided, your health care team can offer many tips to make your recovery from surgery as smooth as possible.