Patients with penile cancer face significant challenges whilst undergoing treatment for cancer. Some of the common difficulties faced by patients due to cancer treatment include coping with the treatment of cancer; emotional and mental aspects of cancer treatment; the financial burden of cancer treatment; and changes in eating habits.
The side effects of treatment increase sufferings in people with penile cancer. In addition to physical pain, deformities caused by major surgeries performed to control diseases cause psychological stress to patients.
Coping with penile cancer treatment
Each penile cancer treatment option has a number of common physical side effects. People with penile cancer have often described the burden of cancer as a cumulative effect on emotional well-being and health.
Many participants who had difficulty adhering to cancer treatment reported increased pain and treatment fatigue over time, including taking part in daily treatment, maintaining treatment adherence, and also side effects of treatment. In fact, the side effects of cancer treatment are the most common cause of suffering and a significant contributor to non-compliance with cancer treatment. All cancer survivors live with the fear that cancer may recur or spread (metastasis). Some may also develop secondary cancer. Regular monitoring, screening and reporting of symptoms to the doctor can help detect new or metastatic cancer at an early stage. In fact, radiation therapy may increase the risk for long-term hypothyroidism, infertility, organ damage, neuropathy, osteoporosis and diabetes. Cancer treatment may lead to comorbidities associated with endocrine changes such as Decreased sex drive, Memory loss, Anemia, Decreased muscle mass, Depression, Weight gain, Loss of body hair1.
Coping with Mental/Emotional side effects of penile cancer
People diagnosed with penile cancer can have social and emotional consequences after being diagnosed with cancer. This can include overcoming various emotions, such as anxiety, depression, anger, or managing stress levels. However, sometimes it is difficult for patients to express their feelings toward a loved one. Some people have found that talking to an oncology counsellor, social worker, or member of the clergy can help them develop more effective coping with cancer. Many patients try to avoid disclosing information about their illness to loved ones in order to save them from emotional stress.
The most common emotional problems that cancer patients may experience include fear of recurrence of cancer, depression and grief due to cancer and its treatment, social stigma due to deformities, amputations, or significant changes in body function.
Coping with the financial burden of penile cancer
“Financial toxicity” has become a well-known term in the discussion of cancer drugs and treatment. Basic medical insurance plans do not cover most cancer treatments in the USA, and therefore, patients have to suffer extremely high payments. In recent decades, the rising medication prices, health insurance costs, and other disease management expenses of cancer treatment have been a rising problem for cancer patients and their family members.
Coping with changes in sexual habits
Penile patients are also worried that they might not be able to have a normal sexual life which might lead to trauma and depression among many penile cancer patients.
- 1.Zizinia S. Life After Cancer. Social & Emotional Impacts of Cancer. MD Anderson Cancer Center. Published 2022. Accessed April 2022. https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/life-after-cancer/social-emotional-impacts.html