Reduced Penile Size Linked to Prostate Cancer Treatment

Low incidence, but more likely after surgery or radiotherapy plus ADT versus radiotherapy alone

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with radiotherapy alone, men with recurrent prostate cancer are more likely to have complaints about reduced penile size after treatment with radiotherapy plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or radical prostatectomy (RP), according to research published in the January issue of Urology.

Arti Parekh, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues assessed the incidence of patient complaints about reduced penile size after treatment for recurrent prostate cancer in a group of 948 men who participated in the Comprehensive, Observational, Multicenter, Prostate Adenocarcinoma registry. Participants were assessed a median of 5.53 years after treatment, consisting of RP or radiotherapy, with or without ADT.

The researchers found that 2.63 percent of men complained of a reduced penile size. After stratification by treatment, the incidence was 3.73 percent for those who underwent RP, 2.67 percent for those who received radiotherapy plus ADT, and 0 percent for those who received radiotherapy only. Compared with the radiotherapy-alone group, there were significantly more complaints in the surgery and radiotherapy-plus-ADT groups, with no significant difference in the rate of shortened penile length between these two groups. Men who perceived a reduction in penile size were 2.36-fold more likely to report interference with close relationships and 3.37-fold more likely to express increased treatment regret, after multivariate adjustment.

"Complaints about a reduced penile size were more common with radiotherapy plus ADT or surgery than radiotherapy alone and were associated with greater interference with close emotional relationships and increased treatment regret," the authors write. "Physicians should discuss the possibility of this rarely mentioned side effect with their patients to help them make more informed treatment choices."

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