BEP Chemotherapy: Testicular Cancer Treatment

BEP is a chemotherapy regimen most commonly used in the treatment of testicular cancer that has spread outside the testicle, though it can also be used to treat a rare case of ovarian cancer.

BEP chemotherapy consists of 3 different drugs:

  • bleomycin
  • etoposide
  • platinum (cisplatin)

Read on for more information about BEP, its administration, side effects, and more.



How is BEP chemotherapy administered?

BEP chemotherapy works by injecting one or more of the drugs into your bloodstream. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as:

  • A peripheral IV line (PIV, or just “IV”) – a short catheter that’s typically placed in the forearm.
  • PICC line (“peripherally inserted central-line catheter”), which is generally placed in the upper arm. Its tip ends in the largest vein of the body, which is why it’s considered a central line.
  • A CVC (“central venous catheter“) – a central line placed in the chest or neck.
  • port is a catheter that’s implanted surgically under the skin on the chest. It’s another type of central line.

Side effects of BEP chemotherapy

BEP chemotherapy can cause a number of side effects in patients receiving it. These can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Infection
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Numbness in hands or feet
  • Soreness in the mouth
  • Changes in taste
  • Changes in bowel movements (diarrhea / constipation)
  • Dizziness

So, during the first week and the first half of the second week, I was pretty down. The end of the second week and the whole third week of each cycle was pretty nice. I could sit on the couch and watch TV. During the third week, I would even get up and try to walk around. I wasn’t having any diarrhea, and I wasn’t throwing up. The headaches subsided a bit as well. The hearing and the breathing issues stayed – that’s a longer-term thing. The rest subsided during the third week. 

Steve Lynch

Looking in the mirror, I was the typical chemo patient. I had the bald head, I was pale, fatigued, had dark circles under my eyes, and couldn’t hardly get out of bed. That was me, and that’s a lot of testicular cancer patients. However, if you’re going through a different cancer and different chemo, it might be different.

Hugo Toovey

How long does BEP treatment last?

BEP chemotherapy is typically administered in one or more 3-week (21 day) cycles, consisting of:

  • 3 or 5 days of infusions of combinations of all three drugs
  • a rest period of a few days (no infusions)
  • a bleomycin infusion on day 8 or 9
  • another rest period of a week
  • another bleomycin infusion on day 15 or 16
  • a final rest week

Learn from patients who’ve received BEP chemotherapy


Matthew O., Non-Seminoma, Stage 3C



Age Diagnosed: 24
1st Symptoms: Fatigue, one swollen testicle
Treatment: BEP chemotherapy, surgeries (including complications)
...

Hugo T., Non-Seminoma, Stage 2B



Age at Diagnosis: 21
1st Symptoms:
Pea-sized lump on right testicle
Treatment: Surgical removal of right testicle, lymph node resection, chemotherapy

...

Steve L., Non-Seminoma, Stage 4



Age at Diagnosis: 25
1st Symptoms:
Grape-sized tumor on neck; hip and pelvis pain; ultrasound revealed tumor on right testicle
Treatment:
Chemotherapy (BEP), removal of right testicle, lymph node resection (RPLND), and tumor dissection in the neck
...

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