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Changes to how your body looks after surgery

It can be very difficult to cope with changes to your body after surgery, especially to your penis. Immediately after surgery your genital area will be swollen. It can be a shock to see the changes even if your doctor told you beforehand what to expect.

How you look will depend on the surgery you had.

After wide local excision

You will have a scar after a wide local excision. The shape of your penis might have changed slightly. This depends on how much tissue the surgeon removed. 

After removal of the head of the penis (a glansectomy) with a skin graft 

Your penis will be smaller and the glans will no longer be there. It will look like a circumcised penis. You will still have an opening in the middle of your penis for passing urine.

After removal of the penis (total penectomy)

You will have a scar where the surgeon removed your penis. You have an opening between your anus and your scrotum for passing urine. You will need to sit down on the toilet to pass urine.

Adjusting to change

It is natural to go through a time of adjusting to change. You might have many different emotions during this time. People often feel sad when they are coming to terms with what they have been through. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you feel sad or depressed most of the time.

You can call the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Last reviewed: 
22 Nov 2018
  • Guidelines on Penile Cancer

    O.W. Hakenberg and others

    European Association of Urology (EAU) 2014


    Identifying the needs of penile cancer sufferers: a systematic review of the quality of life, psychosexual and psychosocial literature in penile cancer

    S Maddineni and others

    BMC Urology. 2009 Aug 8;9:8


    Sexual function after partial penectomy for penile cancer

     F Romero and others

    Urology. 2005 Dec;66(6):1292-5

  • Penis Cancer: The Lived Experience

    H Gordon and others 

    Cancer Nursing 2017 volume 40 number 2 pages E30-E38

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