September 9th, 2016
Treating prostate cancer can reduce the length of penis!
This a worrisome consideration in many men who have or are undergoing the prostate cancer treatment. It is no wonder that a lot of men attribute their penis size/ length with the quality of their sexual relationships. Needless to say that these men are more likely to develop sexual dysfunction due to psychosocial factors in such settings. According to the results of a new study, patients attributed the shrinkage in penis size with the quality of their intimate relationships and shared that they would have chosen another treatment plan; if they knew about this therapy-related side effect.
The study was carried out on 948 men, out of which only a small number of patients (25 subjects) complained that their penis shrunk lengthwise after the treatment. Among these men, 3.73% underwent radical prostatectomy i.e. removal of prostate via surgery. Whereas 2.67% men received androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) along with radiotherapy. It is imperative to mention that the loss in length was only about a centimeter or one third of an inch and was found only in 2.63% of men.
Usually men who are undergoing prostate cancer therapy are not told about this side effect prior to initiating the treatment regimen. Obviously, this can be very disturbing for the patient after the onset of therapy related complications. Investigators concluded that since there is a valid risk of penis shrinkage after most prostate cancer therapies, therefore all patients should be informed about their options prior to initiating the treatment.
According to another study reported in the Journal of Endourology, the penis length can undergo a significant reduction (by more than an inch) after undergoing the treatment for prostate cancer. The exact reason for this bothersome side effect is not completely clear, but the most possible and logical answer for this phenomena was presented in the journal Urology. According to authors of this paper, resection of prostate and then reassembly can lead to the shrinkage of penis. Moreover, treatment via hormonal therapy can also cause the shrinkage of penile tissues or may even lead to formation of fibrosis that may reduce the size of penis.
Prostate cancers are not rare, but it is one of those cancers in which the patient has several treatment options to make the decision from. Unfortunately, almost all prostate cancer treatments are associated with wide range of side effects, but educating the patient in advance about different management options can help in improving the outcome.
Besides educating the patients about the risk of complications, healthcare providers should also share different therapies and solutions. For example, penile implants can offer great relief and satisfaction to the patients who are concerned about the penis size or are experiencing sexual dysfunction after the cancer therapy. Besides penile implants, a variety of other devices and pharmacological regimens are also available that can address symptoms in these patients. According to a new study reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (3), investigators suggested that Vacuum erection devices (or VED) are becoming the main-stay treatments for the management of sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer therapy with an added benefit of facilitating the rehabilitation of penile tissues. Various clinical studies indicates that the use of VED after prostate cancer therapy is associated with a significant improvement in the length and girth of penis. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about the penis shrinkage due to prostate cancer therapy.
1. Parekh, A., Chen, M. H., Hoffman, K. E., Choueiri, T. K., Hu, J. C., Bennett, C. L., … & D’Amico, A. V. (2013). Reduced penile size and treatment regret in men with recurrent prostate cancer after surgery, radiotherapy plus androgen deprivation, or radiotherapy alone. Urology, 81(1), 130-135.
2. Sartor, O., Flood, E., Beusterien, K., Park, J., Webb, I., MacLean, D., … & Lin, H. M. (2015). Health-related quality of life in advanced prostate cancer and its treatments: biochemical failure and metastatic disease populations. Clinical genitourinary cancer, 13(2), 101-112.
3. Pahlajani, G., Raina, R., Jones, S., Ali, M., & Zippe, C. (2012). Vacuum erection devices revisited: its emerging role in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and early penile rehabilitation following prostate cancer therapy. The journal of sexual medicine, 9(4), 1182-1189.