What is Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy or radiation therapy is a treatment delivered from a machine with a beam aimed at the tumour. For testis cancer, radiotherapy is used occasionally to treat less advanced cases of seminoma, aimed at the lymph glands, after the testis containing the cancer has already been removed. Even though the lymph glands in the area appear normal on the CT scan, some cancer cells may already have landed there and your cancer doctor may decide to treat the area with radiotherapy. Your doctor will likely treat smaller seminoma tumour masses in the mid­and lower abdomen with radiotherapy. (Larger seminoma tumour masses are better treated with chemotherapy.) 

The radiation causes damage to the cells in the path of the beam. Both cancer cells as well as normal cells are affected and so you have side effects. 


What are the side effects? 

  • With the radiation beams aimed only at the mid and lower abdomen, there may be skin changes similar to a sun­burn. 
  • Diarrhea, general tiredness and stomach upset may occur but are relatively uncommon. 
  • Low blood counts very rarely occurs and hair loss should not be a problem this type of radiotherapy. 
  • The remaining healthy testicle is shielded or protected from the radiation beam with a lead apron during treatment, so that normal functions of the testis, (i.e. making sperms and male hormones) can continue.