Coping With Emotions

How to Cope with Losing a Testicle

Losing a testicle because of cancer can cause you to question your manhood. Talk to your doctor, treatment team and partner about your concerns.

Losing a testicle or having prostate cancer can take a toll on a man’s ego. You may feel that testicles represent your masculinity and sexuality. It’s normal when you lose a testicle to worry about how others might view you or to feel concerned about how it will change your sex life.

Before looking at some ways to best approach these legitimate feelings, it’s helpful to look at how losing a testicle can affect you.

Sexual Performance

Since the testicles produce sperm and testosterone, it’s understandable to worry that losing one will change your sexual drive or performance. It shouldn’t. Usually, the surviving testicle makes up for the testosterone and sperm loss, according to Cancer Research UK. Your ability to have biological children in the future should also not be affected. There’s sometimes short-term libido loss, but testosterone hormone replacement is a potential option. If you’re diagnosed with low testosterone, replacement treatment can start right away, according to the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation.

How It Looks

You may be concerned that losing a testicle will make your genitals look abnormal. Many men who have lost a testicle say that it’s not noticeable to others. Explore online forums, such as at TC-Cancer, to get a sense of what others in your situation feel.

Some men get prosthetic implants but others find they aren’t necessary to feel whole. Those who choose to get a prosthetic implant often want their genitals to look complete. According to Healthtalk, a research study showed that about 75% of men who got a false testicle were satisfied with the results. It all depends on what’s right for you so work with your treatment team and talk to your partner about your concerns and options.

Finding Support

The idea of losing a testicle is something to cope with and process. Losing any body part is difficult but one that helps identify you with being a man can pack more of a punch. While some men may feel comfortable chatting with friends about their concerns, you might prefer to talk with those who are going through something similar, or even better, hearing from someone who already lost a testicle. Talk to your therapist specifically about your masculinity concerns.

The American Cancer Society has several online support communities for those going through cancer treatment to share their stories and thoughts, as does CancerCare and the Testicular Cancer Society. Finding out about other mens’ experiences can be reassuring. If you have a partner, talk to them about how he or she feels about your specific situation. Most likely they are more concerned with your health and love than a missing testicle.

Losing Your Manhood

There’s more to being a man than having testicles. Spend time thinking about what makes you a man. That could be characteristics like kindness, moral integrity, and dependability. Maybe it’s having facial or body hair. For each person, the definition will be different. Also, ask your partner the same question. It can help you see that being a man is multidimensional

If you’re being treated for cancer or lose your testicle to other conditions, talk to your doctor about how it will affect you.

Counseling and emotional support is always available to you when treatment becomes overwhelming or unbearable.

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Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Deborah Abrams Kaplan