What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Penile Cancer?

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • What kind of penile cancer do I have?
  • How deep has the cancer grown into the penis? Has it spread to lymph nodes or other organs?
  • What is the stage of my cancer and what does that mean?
  • Do I need more tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see any other types of doctors?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • Will I need surgery on my groin lymph nodes?
  • How long will it take me to recover from treatment?
  • When can I go back to my regular activities after treatment?
  • What are the risks or side effects to the treatments you suggest?
  • Will treatment affect my ability to urinate, have sex, or to have children?
  • What are the chances that my cancer will come back after treatment? What would we do if that happens?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you may want to ask about getting a second opinion or about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find out more in The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 30, 2015 Last Revised: February 9, 2016

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.