The survival rate of patients with testicular cancer has increased significantly over the past several years. What more, new research has now shown that fatherhood is a reachable possibility for many men who survive the disease.
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer among men ages 20 to 40 and is slightly more common on the right side than on the left. The cause for the cancer is not known exactly. However, a combination of congenital (present right form birth) and acquired factors is believed to play a significant role.
The most common symptom associated with testicular cancer is painless enlargement of the testis accompanied by a sensation of heaviness. Self-examination plays a very important role in the early detection and treatment of testicular cancer. Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the treatment options available.
A ray of hope left for the patients affected with testicular cancer is that it has a high cure rate, if detected early. However, the treatment has been known to affect the fertility potential of the patient.
A follow up study combined with research purpose, conducted on a group of testicular cancer patients revealed that about one-third of the follow up patients attempted to father a child after treatment. Seventy-one percent of the men were successful within 15 years of treatment and 76 percent had the same success within 20 years.
Furthermore, the chance of successful conception was found to be dependent on the type of treatment as anticipated. Men treatment with high doses of chemotherapy had a 48 % success while the success rate for those followed by surveillance alone after the cancerous testicle was removed was much higher (92 %). Assisted reproductive techniques have helped these patients to a larger extent (22 %).
The study results highlight the finding that the ability to conceive has increased over the years. It would be important however to preserve the sperm sample by cryopreservation prior to chemotherapy as it is impossible to predict the fertility outcome on an individual basis.