According to recent findings, testicular cancer survivors, especially those under 40, reported increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction, compared to those without a history of cancer.
At all stages of the disease, testicular cancer has been highly curable for many years, explained study co-author Dr. Bagrodia in an interview with CURE®. However, mental and physical side effects can follow patients until they survive, negatively impacting their quality of life.
“While it is wonderful that we can cure the vast majority of these young men, the impact of diagnosis and treatment is profound and can affect almost every aspect of their lives,” noted Bagrodia, who is an associate professor and team leader in genitourinary oncology at the University of California, San Diego.
He and the researchers administered 143 surveys to testicular cancer survivors to rate themselves on sexual function and mood. The results – which were presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology – demonstrated that survivors reported increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and sexual dysfunction without reduced sexual interest, compared to those no history of cancer.
Some may experience these symptoms because they are in what Bagrodia described as “the prime of life,” as the most common age to be diagnosed with testicular cancer is between 20 and 40 years old. Many can start a career, a high school education or a family – all of which can be affected by a diagnosis of testicular cancer.
It should be noted that younger men (between 20 and 39) reported higher symptoms of anxiety and depression than men over 40.
“Of course, I think older men and men with a cancer diagnosis — and women, for that matter — all experience some degree of anxiety, depression (and) sexual side effects,” a- he added. “But I think it’s really just in that phase of your life where you’re working, or you’re just starting to work, you’re potentially in school, you’ve just started a family potentially, maybe you don’t ‘re not equally financially independent or free. This (everything) can exacerbate things, (that’s) what I think.
Additionally, men who underwent retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (a procedure to remove abdominal lymph nodes to treat testicular cancer) reported increased symptoms of depression compared to those who did not. And those who received chemotherapy had more severe symptoms of sexual dysfunction and depression than those who did not receive chemotherapy.
Bagrodia advised testicular cancer survivors who have symptoms such as anxiety, depression or sexual dysfunction to tell their doctor.
“If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or sexual side effects following the diagnosis or treatment of testicular cancer, you’re not alone,” he said. “These are actually generally very manageable situations with both counseling and allopathic interventions. (Patients) should inform their providers as we can intervene with mental health support services for some of the causal reasons for anxiety, depression, financial toxicity, low testosterone and potentially help you a little .
Bagrodia added that patients can seek help for these symptoms no matter where they are in their cancer journey.
“Even if you’re a long way (from treatment) and cured, it’s worth talking to your cancer care team, as well as your primary healthcare provider, because you don’t necessarily have to live with that for the rest of your life. life,” he said.
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