Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
For most people with penile cancer, treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, but it’s hard not to worry about cancer coming back. This is very common if you’ve had cancer.
For some people, the cancer might never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatment with chemotherapy or other treatments to try and help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn't go away can be difficult and very stressful.
Life after cancer means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.
If you've completed treatment, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctors will ask about any problems you're having and may do exams, lab tests, and/or imaging tests (like CT scans) to look for signs of cancer or treatment side effects. Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks to months, but others can last the rest of your life. This is the time for you to talk to your cancer care team about any changes or problems you notice and discuss any questions or concerns you have.
You'll need to still see your cancer doctor for many years. Doctor visits and exams will be more frequent at first, often every 3 to 6 months for the first 2 years, then every 6 to 12 months for 3 to 5 years. The time between visits will get longer over time. The time between visits and the follow-up tests done depend on the stage of the cancer and the type of treatment you had. Ask what kind of follow-up schedule you can expect.
Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:
Even after treatment, it’s very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesn’t know about your medical history. It’s important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.
If you have (or have had) penile cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help.
Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, getting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight might help, but no one knows for sure. Still, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of penile cancer or other cancers.
So far, no dietary supplements (including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products) have been shown to clearly help lower the risk of penile cancer progressing or coming back. This doesn’t mean that no supplements will help, but it’s important to know that none have been proven to do so.
Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States – they do not have to be proven effective (or even safe) before being sold, although there are limits on what they’re allowed to claim they can do. If you’re thinking about taking any type of nutritional supplement, talk to your health care team. They can help you decide which ones you can use safely while avoiding those that might be harmful.
If the cancer does come back (recur) at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is, what treatments you’ve had before, your overall health, and your preferences. For more information on how recurrent cancer is treated, see Treatment of Penile Cancer, by Stage.
For more general information on recurrence, you may also want to see Understanding Recurrence.
People who’ve had penile cancer can still get other cancers. So far, penile cancer and it's treatment have not been linked to the risk of specific second cancers. (You can learn more general information about this in Second Cancers in Adults.)
Still, it's important to see your primary care provider and get recommended check-ups and screening tests, including cancer screening tests. You can find details about cancer screening tests that might be right for you in Cancer Screening Guidelines.
Some amount of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried is normal when cancer is a part of your life. Some people are affected more than others. But everyone can benefit from help and support from other people, whether friends and family, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others. Learn more in Life After Cancer.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), Penile Cancer, Version 2.2018 -- March 26, 2018. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/penile.pdf on May 31, 2018.
Last Revised: June 25, 2018
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