HealthSheets™


Discharge Instructions After Treatment for Cancer of the Testicles

You have been diagnosed with testicular cancer. This is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the testicles. Surgery is the most common treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplant are also choices. This sheet will help you learn how to care for yourself after surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Always follow any instructions you get from your healthcare providers. Contact them if you have any questions.

Home care after surgery

Here’s what to do at home after surgery for testicular cancer.

Incision care

Tips for incision care include: 

  • Shower as desired. But don’t swim or use a bathtub or hot tub until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Keep your incision clean and dry.

  • Wash your incision gently with mild soap and warm water. Don't scrub the incision.

Activity

Do's and don'ts include: 

  • Don’t worry if you feel more tired than usual. Fatigue and weakness are common for a few weeks after this surgery.

  • Listen to your body. If an activity causes pain, stop.

  • Limit your activity to short walks. Gradually increase your pace and distance as you feel able.

  • Don't do strenuous activities, such as mowing the lawn, using a vacuum cleaner, or playing sports until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Don’t drive until you are free of pain and no longer taking narcotic pain medicines. This may take a few weeks.

Diet

Tips for diet include:

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Stock up on easy to prepare foods. 

  • Eat foods high in protein and calories. 

  • Ask your healthcare provider before taking any vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medicines. 

  • To prevent constipation:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day unless your healthcare provider tells you to limit fluids.

    • Use a laxative or a mild stool softener if your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

Home care after chemotherapy

Here’s what to do at home after chemotherapy for testicular cancer. 

Preventing or dealing with mouth sores

Many people get mouth sores during chemotherapy. So, don’t be discouraged if you do, even if you are following all your healthcare provider’s instructions. To help prevent mouth sores or to ease discomfort:

  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush after every meal.

  • Don’t use dental floss if your platelet count is low. Your healthcare providers will tell you if it is low.

  • Use an oral swab or special soft toothbrush if your gums bleed during brushing.

  • Use any mouthwash given to you as directed.

  • If you can’t tolerate brushing, use salt and baking soda to clean your mouth. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Swish and spit.

  • Let your healthcare provider know if your mouth is sore. Watch your mouth and tongue for white patches. This may be a sign of a fungal infection. This is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about these patches. Medicine can be prescribed to help you fight fungal infections. 

  • If your mouth or throat become dry or sore, take sips of cool water or suck on ice chips.

Managing other side effects

Tips to handle other side effects include:

  • Try to exercise. Exercise keeps you strong and keeps your heart and lungs active. Walk as much as you can without becoming dizzy or weak.

  • Remember, many people feel sick and lose their appetite during treatment. Eat small meals several times a day to keep your strength up.

    • Choose bland foods with little taste or smell if you are reacting strongly to food.

    • Be sure to cook all food thoroughly. This kills bacteria and helps you prevent infection.

    • Eat foods that are soft. They are less likely to cause mouth or throat irritation.

  • Keep clean. During treatment your body can’t fight germs very well.

    • Take short baths or showers with warm water. Don't use very hot or cold water.

    • Use moisturizing soap. Treatment can make your skin dry.

    • Apply moisturizing lotion several times a day to help relieve dry skin.

    • Limit or avoid contact with possible sources of infection, such as people who are sick or large crowds. 

Home care after radiation therapy

Here’s what to do at home after radiation therapy for testicular cancer.

Skin care 

Do's and don'ts include: 

  • Don’t scrub or use soap on the treated area.

  • Don't be surprised if your radiation treatment causes sunburn-like skin irritation in the area being treated. Ask your therapy team which lotions are best to relieve the burn and protect the skin.

  • Block sun from the treated area. Ask your therapy team about using a sunscreen.

  • Don’t remove ink marks unless your radiation therapist says it’s OK. Don’t scrub or use soap on the marks when you wash. Let water run over them and pat them dry.

  • Protect your skin from heat or cold. Don't use hot tubs, saunas, heating pads, or ice packs.

  • Wear soft, loose clothing that doesn't rub your skin.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or chills

  • Signs of infection around the incision (redness, fluid, warmth, pain)

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Pain that gets worse

  • Nausea or diarrhea that doesn't go away

  • Scrotal swelling that gets worse

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