Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill cancer cells. It may be used to treat seminoma that has spread to the lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen (retroperitoneal lymph nodes), which measure less than 5 cm. A short course of chemotherapy may also be given at the same time.

Before radiotherapy starts you will need to have the area to be treated identified and marked. Radiotherapy will take around 10-15 minutes each day to perform and may last for 2-3 weeks. Radiotherapy does not make you radioactive and it is safe for you to be with other people, including children throughout your treatment.

Radiotherapy can sometimes cause the following side effects.

Skin reactionsRadiotherapy can irritate the skin These symptoms may occur 2-3 weeks after treatment. Vitamin E supplements and topical creams, that is creams applied directly onto the skin, can help the healing process, and these may be prescribed by the healthcare team. It is also advisable to keep areas that have been treated with radiotherapy covered and protected from direct sunlight. Treated areas may turn a slightly darker colour temporarily.  
Fatigue  This may be caused by a combination of treatment and travel. Getting small restful naps or taking a mild sedative medication may help.  
Feeling sick (nausea)  Anti-sickness medication can be prescribed to help stop nausea.
Diarrhoea  Reducing your intake of high fibre food may help (fruit, vegetables, wholewheat products). Drinking plenty of fluids will help reduce the risk of dehydration.

    We hope you found this information useful. If you would like to submit your own advice based on your experience to help other men, please comment below. Comments will be kept anonymous, but where possible and we would like to share them with other orginisations who are trying to improve the care and support for anyone affected by testicular cancer.

    Reviewed 1/2024