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.
What’s the lifetime risk of getting cancer?
The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report shows about half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.