Testicular radiation

For boys or teens with leukemic cells in the testes, radiation is included in the treatment plan. At the present time, most protocols require 2400 cGy to both testicles, given in 200 cGy doses, once a day for twelve days. Radiation treatment is usually only given Monday to Friday, with weekends off. Treatment plans vary among protocols and institutions.

Prior to your sons radiation to the testes, the technologist or child life specialist will give a tour of the facility, describe the machines, and explain exactly how the radiation sessions will be done. Usually, only older boys require radiation to the testes, so anesthesia is rarely needed. The boy or teen will lie on the table, the technologist will support the testicles on a small piece of lead, and the penis will be taped up to keep it out of the radiation field. Each treatment will last less than five minutes, during which time the boy must hold perfectly still. As with cranial radiation, the technologist will be watching your son through a window and will be in verbal contact through a two-way intercom system.

Radiation therapy to the testes causes sterility. For all sexually mature males, sperm banking should be discussed with the oncologist prior to treatment. Sperm can be kept viable for ten to fifteen years, and this may allow some teens the opportunity to become fathers later in life.

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