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Follow-up after treatment for penile cancer
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for penile cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists), the surgeon, the urologist and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.
Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:
- any new growth on the penis
- any new swelling of the penis
- any new swelling in the groin
The chance that penile cancer will come back (recur) is greatest within the first year, so you will need close follow-up during this time.
Schedule for follow-up visits
Follow-up visits for penile cancer are usually scheduled:
- every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years
- every 6 to 12 months for the next 3 years
Men who have had treatments that didn’t involve removing the penis should be followed for longer than 5 years.
During follow-up visits
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
- checking the penis, groin and pelvic area
- feeling the lymph nodes in the groin
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
- blood tests
- a chest x-ray to check for cancer that may have spread to the lungs
- a CT scan to check for cancer that may have spread to distant areas in the body
- an ultrasound to check for cancer that may have spread to lymph nodes in the groin
- a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy to look for changes in the lymph node cells
- a PET scan to check for cancer that has spread to distant areas in the body
If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.
Questions to ask about follow-up
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.
Taking action against all cancers
The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report found that of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, half are expected to be lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Learn what you can do to reduce the burden of cancer.