The impact of testicular cancer and its treatment on masculinity: A systematic review

Psychooncology. 2022 Sep;31(9):1459-1473. doi: 10.1002/pon.5994. Epub 2022 Jul 21.


Objective: The purpose of this review was to synthesise the literature on the topic of masculinity and testicular cancer (TC) and investigate the relative impact of TC on men's view of their masculinity.

Methods: Searches were conducted across four databases (MEDline, PsycInfo, CINAHL Plus and Scopus) for articles published before April 2022 that included (1) TC and (2) masculinity. Two researchers independently rated studies for inclusion with a third resolving conflicts. Of the 6464 articles screened, 24 articles (10 quantitative and 14 qualitative) were included in the review. Articles were rated for quality and a narrative synthesis was performed.

Results: Overall, results indicated some men experience a shift in the way they relate to their sense of masculinity following diagnosis and treatment for TC. Being single and without children was related to the experience of negative masculinity-related outcomes, possibly due to a compounding lack of relational support and being unable to conform to protector, provider traditions. Men who described testicle loss as symbolic of their diminished masculinity were also negatively impacted. However, recent, high-quality literature on the topic using standardised masculinity measures was limited.

Conclusion: Some men experience a reduced sense of masculinity after TC, however the impact of TC on masculinity remains person dependent. Further research using validated masculinity measures is required to uncover psycho-social variables that may account for whether and how meaning is made between TC and its treatment and any subsequent impact on perceived masculinity. Such factors may better support these men in life beyond cancer.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO. International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews: CRD42020185649.

Keywords: cancer; masculinity; oncology; orchiectomy; psycho-oncology; psychology; qualitative; survivorship; systematic review; testicular neoplasm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masculinity
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal*
  • Testicular Neoplasms* / therapy

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor