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What is penectomy?

We talked about this intervention to treat penile cancer. Is it very common?


The penectomía is the elimination of the penis to treat penile cancer, a type of cancer is not very common but with higher incidence in countries in South America, Africa and parts of Asia. When surgery is needed, a partial or complete penectomy is performed to eliminate the cancer and improve the patient’s chances of survival.

If the cancer is widespread in the tissue, the penectomy will involve the complete removal of the penis next to the roots of the penis, which extend into the pelvis. Although it does not affect the ability to urinate, yes to how it leaves the body, because a new opening must be created between the anus and the scrotum so that the urine can be expelled.

Also, depending on how advanced the cancer is, it may be necessary to also remove the testicles, in which case you need to take testosterone supplements later.


The recovery process after a penectomy depends on many factors, including the age of the man, the extent of the cancer and any other medical condition that is present.

The long-term effects of the surgical procedure may include changes in the way man urinates, depending on whether a partial or complete penectomy was performed.

In the case of a partial penectomy, traditional foot micturition is possible. But before a complete penectomy, the man will have to sit down to pee.

Regarding sexual function may also be affected. Yes it is possible to have sex with a partial penectomy; however, in the face of complete surgery, penetrationit is not, according to the American Cancer Society.

Over time, the recovery may include penile reconstruction surgery, called phalloplasty, as well as psychological therapy, since losing a part of the body because of a cancer can be traumatizing. Self-esteem and self-image can also be affected, hence the importance of professional support for emotional recovery.

Are there any other options besides the penectomy?

In some cases, less aggressive surgery may be used, but what surgical procedure to use will depend on how large the tumor is and how deep the cancer has spread through the tissue.

Surgical procedures may include excision, a simple excision in which only the tumor and part of the surrounding tissue (for a small tumor) are removed; the Mohs micrographic surgery, consisting of eliminating tumor layers one by one, looking under a microscope each layer to identify the presence of cancer cells; layers are removed until no cancer cells are present; or circumcision, when penis cancer only involves the foreskin. In some cases, chemotherapy, immunotherapy (also known as biological therapy) and radiation can be used to treat penile cancer.

Usually, the prospect for penile cancer following a penectomy depends on the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor and the age of a man.

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