Chemotherapy testicular cancer
Oncology hospitals may use different time scales and may vary combinations due to new research
Carboplatin is used for early-stage Seminoma such as stage 1 where the pathology shows vascular invasion from the testicle but a clear CT scan. It's used as a preventative treatment and has minimal side effects compared to the BEP regime. Carboplatin can reduce the chances of recurrence to around 5 per cent.
Recently some oncologists are trying 2 or 3 rounds of Carboplatin on Seminoma where 1 lymph node is shown to be slightly enlarged in the abdomen area BUT it's still unsure if this has any real benefit.
Carboplatin is normally given over a few hours in a day ward and it is administered through a drip into your arm or wrist area.
The men who have had single-dose Carboplatin in our forum have said that they feel like they have the flu for 4 to 5 days after but within a week they feel back to normal. Side effects vary from tiredness to sligh nausea.
It is very important to report any severe symptoms to the ward, so make sure you get their contact details.
Keep hydrated and eating and rest up for a week.
You won't loose your hair. You can chat with men who have had carbo in our group. So BOOM! get stuck into it and best of luck.
Bep and EP CHEMO
BEP and EP chemotherapy can be used if there is a high chance non-seminoma has started to spread OR pure seminoma HAS spread.
BEP is B-Bleomycin E-Etopiside P-Cisplatin
EP is E-Etoposide P-Cisplatin. ( so BEP without the Bleomycin)
How long is 1 cycle of BEP?
One cycle ( or round ) of BEP is normally 3 to 4 days on the ward on a drip after a kidney test, then you go home to return 1 or 2 weeks later for a one-day booster as some oncologists give you 2 boosters. Overall around 3 weeks in total.
Some hospitals do offer BEP on day wards and you return the next day for 4 days as opposed to staying overnight. In our opinion from experience, it is best to stay in the hospital as some do get infections or a reaction and also the costs of travel, parking etc can add up over that week. It is of course up to you.
So however many rounds of BEP you receive, each round is 3 weeks.
So 3 rounds of BEP in 9 weeks, You get the picture!
EP chemo is normally 4 rounds so 4 times 3 weeks is 12 weeks.
getting through BEP/EP
Going through BEP or EP is by no means easy, some say it was not as bad as they expected BUT in all, it's a time you need to concentrate on getting through it with as little side effects and worry as possible. Firstly, the most important thing when on chemo is to stay hydrated when you get home as BEP/EP is not good for the kidneys so drink a small glass of water an hour.
Allot of men feel the first round easy and walk out of the hospital feeling ok. They also agree that round 2 is when most of the side effects kick in. Everyone is different on chemo.
Eat for energy, but some men find that they get tummy acid on chemo so if you do tell your doctor and they can help with that but also try to avoid high acid type drinks such as oranges. Again everyone gets different side effects so see how you get one. YOU MAY FOUND YOU GET CRAVINGS, SOME MEN CRAVE A FOOD THEY WOULD NOT GO NEAR BEFORE, IT'S LINKED TO HORMONES!
Keep moving, small walks when you have the energy but not too far.
What are the most common side effects?
Nausea and sickness. Your nurse/doctor will give you anti-sickness meds to help
Sore gums, get some non-alcoholic mouth wash and a soft toothbrush
Constipation, you can get bunged up, All bran type cereal might help, if this gets a problem, speak to the doctor.
Tiredness, you will get tired and it comes all of a sudden.
Shortness of breath, the chemo knocks your blood cells down that carry oxygen around the body, even small tasks such as stairs can become hard work
Fever and the shakes, if this happens ring the ward ASAP, infections do happen.
Your hair will fall out, its's normally as you start round 2 and it comes out in clumps. You will find your self pulling it out. Your facial hair apart from eyebrows will fall out and most of the hair on your body, yep, chest, balls and bum!. It will, however, return after you have finished and it may be thicker and baby-like.
Any side effects, fever, that become a worry to you, ring the ward and ask for advice. Don't man up on chemo, it's important you get through it with as little hassle as possible.
Also, yes friends and family will want to come and see you, But if they have colds or bugs then try and keep them at the other side of the room. Your immune system is very low and you can pick up other colds and bugs very easy which may effect staying on chemo.