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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Reproductive System

Testicles

Testicular late effects are more likely to occur after treatment for certain childhood cancers.

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About This PDQ Summary

Purpose of This Summary This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of childhood Ewing sarcoma. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. Reviewers and Updates This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Pediatric Treatment...

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Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause testicular late effects:

Surgery, radiation and certain chemotherapy drugs increase the risk of late effects that affect the testicles.

The risk of health problems that affect the testicles increases after treatment with one or more of the following:

Late effects that affect the testicles may cause certain health problems.

Late effects of the testicles include the following:

  • Low sperm count: A zero sperm count or a low sperm count may be temporary or permanent. This depends on the radiation dose and schedule, the area of the body treated, and the age when treated.
  • Infertility: The inability to father a child.
  • Retrograde ejaculation: Very little or no semen comes out of the penis during orgasm.

Ovaries

Ovarian late effects are more likely to occur after treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause ovarian late effects:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Cancers treated with total-body irradiation (TBI) before a stem cell transplant.

Radiation to the abdomen and certain chemotherapy drugs increase the risk of ovarian late effects.

The risk of ovarian late effects may be increased after treatment with any of the following:

  • Chemotherapy with alkylating agents, such as cyclophosphamide, mechlorethamine, cisplatin, ifosfamide, lomustine, and especially procarbazine.
  • Radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis. In survivors who had radiation to the abdomen, the damage to the ovaries depends on the radiation dose, age at the time of treatment, and whether all or part of the abdomen received radiation.
  • Radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis together with alkylating agents.
  • Radiation therapy to the brain and spinal cord.
  • Total-body irradiation (TBI) before a stem cell transplant. In survivors who had TBI, the damage to the ovaries is greatest in survivors who had not reached puberty at the time of treatment.

The risk may also be greater in survivors who were age 13 to 20 years at the time of treatment.

Late effects that affect the ovaries may cause certain health problems.

Ovarian late effects include the following:

  • Early menopause, especially in women who were treated with both an alkylating agent and radiation therapy to the abdomen.
  • Changes in menstrual periods.
  • Infertility (inability to conceive a child).
  • Puberty does not begin.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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