Sex After Testicular Cancer Has Challenges

Testicular cancer impacts sexual function

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Testicular cancer usually strikes young men in their 20s and 30s. It's the most common cancer in this age group and also the most curable. Researchers wanted to know how the cancer and its treatment affect sexual function.

Testicular cancer does impact a man's sexual functioning. The extent of these problems is related to the nature of the treatment he has undergone.

Those men who had received chemotherapy and radiation treatments had greater risks of erectile dysfunction (ED), problems with ejaculation and/or other sexual function problems compared to healthy participants.

"Learn the side effects of your cancer treatment."

Cancer of the testes is diagnosed in about 8,500 American men every year, the vast majority of whom beat the disease. Only about 350 men die from this form of cancer each year in the U.S.

Christopher Kim, a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute and a doctoral candidate at Yale University, led a 2008-2009 case-control study involving 246 men with testicular cancer. Another 236 men, matched according to age and ethnicity, served as healthy controls.

Researchers used the Brief Male Sexual Function Inventory to  assess the sexual function of all the participants. This survey looks at sex drive, erection, ejaculation and a man's perception of any sexual problems he may be experiencing.

The men who had been treated for testicular cancer scored lower than the men in the control group in all four of these categories.

The authors wrote, "This study provides evidence that testicular cancer survivors are more likely to have impaired sexual functioning compared to demographically matched controls."

The nature and severity of sexual problems varied by the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the kind of treatment the man received.

This study was published in the July issue of Journal of Psychosomatic Research. No funding information or financial disclosures were available.

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Review Date: 
August 11, 2012
Last Updated:
August 14, 2012