By Tracy Miller / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Of men surveyed after prostate surgery or radiotherapies, 2.6% reported a reduction in penis size, new study finds
First prostate cancer, now this?!
As if coping with the potentially life-threatening illness isn’t enough to deal with, some men undergo treatment only to be confronted with a highly unfortunate side effect: their penis seems noticeably shorter.
The problem is highlighted in a new study from Boston’s Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, published in the January issue of Urology, which examined the results of 948 men after prostate cancer treatment. Roughly 2.6% of men surveyed reported smaller penises after having prostate removal surgery or receiving radiotherapy plus hormone therapy.
The potential side effect is well-known among doctors, according to study co-author Paul Nguyen, MD, but physicians often fail to bring it up with patients when they’re deciding on treatment options.
“It’s almost never discussed with patients, so it can be very upsetting to some men when it occurs,” Dr. Nguyen said. “Patients can deal with almost any side effect if they have some inkling ahead of time that it may happen.”
While this study didn’t directly measure changes in penis size, a previous study found it can range from a centimeter to over an inch.
Nguyen thinks the side effect may be even more common than their research suggests, since the results were based on what men reported to their doctors, and many men may be reluctant to share such information.
Some of the men said they felt shame and suffered from intimacy issues as a result of their loss, but many others are simply grateful to be alive.
“Today, I can do everything I did before. If it’s on a little smaller scale, so what? At least I still have it,” one 68-year-old survivor told NBC News.