Radiation therapy is a treatment option for certain types of penile cancer. It is often recommended for its ability to help patients retain their potency; however, not all penile cancers are responsive to this type of treatment. For instance, squamous cell cancers are often resistant to radiation therapy, and patients with infected lesions might not obtain the full benefits.
Despite these limitations, radiation therapy can be effective in certain situations. For instance, it might be recommended if:
The cancer is in an early stage and the tumor is smaller than 3 centimeters in diameter. Sometimes, radiation therapy can be an alternative to surgery in these situations.
The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the groin. Radiation therapy can be delivered to these lymph nodes to reduce the likelihood that the cancer will continue to spread, although additional treatments will likely be necessary to treat the primary lesion.
The cancer is too extensive to be surgically removed, or the patient does not wish to undergo an operation. In these cases, radiation therapy may be provided alone or in conjunction with chemotherapy to help shrink the lesion and alleviate symptoms.
Patients who receive radiation therapy have several options. The most traditional is external beam radiation therapy, in which beams are directed at the cancer from machines located outside the body. Another option is a radioactive mold that is placed over the penis and worn for 12 hours a day for the course of a week. Sometimes, radioactive pellets can also be temporarily inserted into the penis or urethra.
Moffitt Cancer Center provides patients with a complete range of radiation therapy options, all of which are delivered by a team of skilled dosimetrists, radiologists, radiation oncologists and supportive care professionals. Between the extensive experience of our team and the advanced nature of our treatment techniques, we provide highly individualized treatment plans that target a patient’s cancer while helping him maintain his quality of life.