March 31, 2023
The Psychological Impact of Testicular Cancer
With nearly 10,000 men diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in America, this is a serious disease that can significantly impact a man's health and well-being, no matter his age. In addition to the aspects of the disease that affect the body, men with testicular cancer may also experience psychological and emotional health challenges. These can include anxiety, depression, fear, and guilt. With April serving as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month in the United States, this is an essential time for men, and their loved ones, to learn more about the psychological impact testicular cancer can bring.
The emotional and mental impact of a cancer diagnosis, no matter the type, can vary from person to person. Some men may experience mild psychological distress with testicular cancer, while others may develop more severe symptoms. The severity of the psychological impact will likely depend on several factors, including the cancer stage, the man's age, and coping skillset and style. The following are four common psychological impacts on men diagnosed with, undergoing treatment for, or recovering from testicular cancer:
Men diagnosed with testicular cancer may feel anxious about their health, future, and coping ability. They may also be worried about the impact of cancer on their relationships and their ability to work.
Men may feel depressed about their diagnosis, their treatment plan (especially if losing a testicle), and their prognosis. They may also feel depressed about the impact of cancer on their intimate relationships and everyday lives.
While they don’t always admit it, many men may be afraid of dying, being disfigured or deformed, losing their fertility, and being unable to father a child. They may also fear the unknown or what the future holds for them.
Men may feel guilty for getting sick, being unable to prevent cancer, or not being able to provide for their family. They may also feel guilty for not being able to live up to their expectations.
Thankfully, modern treatments for testicular cancer have an excellent cure rate, even for those with high-stage, advanced cancer. However, the psychological impact of testicular cancer can be significant for many men. Loss of interest in life, and the family, leaving the house, doing fun activities, and decreased appetite are all critical indicators of psychological distress. Men should be aware of the potential psychological challenges they may experience and should seek professional help if they need it. Some actions to take include:
- Talking to someone about how you're feeling. This could be a partner, friend, family member, therapist, or anyone you trust. Verbalizing your feelings can help you to process them and feel supported.
- Taking care of your physical health. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Taking care of your body's health can help to improve your mental health.
- Finding ways to relax and de-stress. This could include yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature. Relaxing and de-stressing can help to improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
- Joining a support group. There are many support groups available for men with testicular cancer. Support groups can provide you with a sense of community and the opportunity to talk to other men going through similar experiences.
- Seeking professional help if you need it. If you are experiencing coping or other psychological challenges of testicular cancer, please seek professional help. A therapist can support you with coping strategies.
Partners and other loved ones can help the man they love by attending doctor visits. Also, being supportive and not making light of the fact that cancer came from the testicle is crucial. Encourage your partner to keep on fighting. Explain to him that with proper treatment, he has more than an 80% chance of a cure, even if the cancer has progressed.
If you, your partner, or someone else you care about has been diagnosed with testicular cancer, please know you are not alone. Many resources are available to help you cope with the psychological challenges of this disease. Don't hesitate to contact a mental health professional for support if you need it.