It can take two weeks to two months to fully recover from an orchiectomy. You should not lift anything over 10 pounds for the first two weeks, or have sex until you’ve healed. Things like exercise, sports and running should be avoided for about four weeks after surgery.
The risk of testicular cancer coming back depends on the stage at diagnosis, but it’s very small, at 5% or less. There is also a very small (about 2%) risk of cancer growing in the other testicle.
Still, it is important to learn how to do a testicular self-exam. Also, regular follow-up visits with your urologist will be important. How often, and for how long follow-up care is needed is based on your diagnosis.
If cancer returns, the doctor will want to find it and treat it quickly. Additional treatment depends on the cancer type and location. RPLND surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are options.
Sex Life and Fertility
The removal of one testicle should not change your sexual energy or fertility (chances of having a child). Most men can have a normal erection after surgery. Still, men diagnosed with testicular cancer have a higher risk of infertility and low testosterone than the others. You may also have a brief decrease in sperm growth. If lymph nodes were removed, it may be harder to ejaculate.
If you have problems, there are drugs that can help with ejaculation. If you are worried, talk with your doctor. You can also keep in mind using a bank sperm before treatment.
As you heal, your body will find balance. Over time, the healthy testicle and lymph nodes will make enough testosterone to help you return to normal. Your doctor may check hormone levels on an annual basis as part of your check-up.
Heart Disease Risk
Patients who have had radiation and/or chemotherapy should pay attention to their heart health. Their risk for cardiovascular disease rises after treatment. Simple lifestyle changes can prevent problems. For example, regular exercise, eating less processed food and no more smoking/vaping will help. Be sure to ask for regular check-ups to test your blood pressure, lipid and glucose levels.