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New here, partner diagnosed with TC

gxb
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2020

Hello, I just created my account because my boyfriend of 2.5 years was diagnosed with testicular cancer yesterday and he's getting surgery to remove the testicle in 2 days. I know TC is one of the more easily treatable diagnoses so I'm trying to be as calm and positive as I can but I'm still terrified. Because of COVID, I did not go to my boyfriend's appointment with him, and when he gets his surgery I can only wait with him before they take him in and then I have to leave. My dad died when I was 19 of a rare blood cancer and it was awful and so traumatizing and I'm carrying over that experience to this current situation, and can only imagine the worst outcomes. I guess my main worries and questions if anyone has any advice are:

  • What will caretaking be like after his surgery?
  • Do doctors typically determine if the cancer has spread before/during surgery or is this something we find out later?
  • General fear about if further treatment is needed and then effects down the road and/or secondary cancers or recurrence
  • I keep reading about partners feeling a lot of anger toward their caregivers, is there some way to prepare for / prevent this?
  • How are other caregivers coping with this during COVID?

That was a lot, so thank you for any info or advice on these, I am anxious and depressed and feeling so overwhelmed.

eeagopian
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2020

First off, you are right in being calm and positive simply because it will compel your BF to feel the same way, which is a big plus in making sure that your immune system is at best at times like these. Also, being with such mindset is always best to assist you and hour BF with decision making and motivation. 

 

Treatments for many types of TCs have shown really good results and especially when they are caught early. To your question on whether doctors can determine if the cancer has spread from removing the testis -and I want to clarify that I am not a doctor,  what I remember from my orchiectomy is that the doctor could determine is the cancer was active in that testis, but even if absent that does not mean that it hasn’t spread to other places already. No need to panic and in order to determine the latter - and at least for Seminoma (one type of TC, which is what I had), doctors analyze your blood and search for tumor markers. My guess is that right after (or during) the orchiectomy the doctor may have run such test, and then may order (perhaps is scheduled to occur soon) the same test a few days or weeks afterwards for comparing the figures. Typically, if the tumor marker goes up it means that there is still cancer somewhere, but again, these are the questions you should ask your oncologist (as your urologist may or may not know) and you should always follow what the doctor says - I am simply describing my experience. Another way to try to identify if there is cancer somewhere else includes a CT scan (and other scans) although these may be more invasive and not worthy at this time, and to the extent that your doctor is satisfied with the tumor markers going down (if they do go down) he/she may not order any type of scans for now. Again, you should ask your doctor about this. 

 

On your question of further treatment, hopefully your BF will not need it, but it is the doctor who will determine that. If so, you should know that like you mentioned, several types of TCs are one of the most treatable cancers. It is not an easy treatment to go through, but the cure rates for many of these cancers are really good, so you should feel good about the fact that there are plenty of options for several types of TC and that if required, your BF will be able to fight based on a good plan. 

 

On your question re COVID, perhaps I am stating the obvious, but I suggest that you drive him to the clinic (as opposed to hi taking UBER). Also, at this point I don’t think there is anything to worry about re COVID, at least not for now if he doesn’t have to do radiation or chemo, although make sure you ask the doctor these questions.

 

Finally, I suggest that you get printouts of all the current protocols suggested according to the type of TC cancer your BF has, which is probably what your oncologist will follow (if there is a need for further treatment). Again, ask all the questions based on what you read and make sure that you are comfortable with your doctor and don’t be shy in looking for second opinions. 

 

Below are a number of links from the American Cancer Association:

 

Treatments #1: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/treating.html

Treatments #2 - by stage: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/treating/by-stage.html

 

 

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have other questions.

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