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.

Expert review and references

  • Alberta Health Services. Penile Cancer Clinical Practice Guideline GU-006. Alberta Health Services; 2012:
  • American Cancer Society. Penile Cancer. 2015:
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Penile Cancer. 2014:
  • Penis. BC Cancer Agency. BC Cancer Agency. Revised ed. Vancouver, BC: BC Cancer Agency; 2011.
  • BC Cancer Agency (BCCA). Cancer Management Guidelines:Penis. 2010:
  • Richter S, Ruether JD, Wood L, Canil C, Moretto P, et al . Management of carcinoma of the penis: consensus statement from the Canadian Association of Genitourinary Medical Oncologists (CAGMO). Canadian Urological Association Journal. 2013.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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