Men's experiences of the impact of penile cancer surgery on their lives: A qualitative study

Minna Törnävä, Eeva Harju, Hanna Vasarainen, Tomi Pakarainen, Ilkka Perttilä, Antti Kaipia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objective: Surgery is the primary treatment for invasive penile cancer (PC). Postoperative changes in genital anatomy and function may lead to altered body and self-image, compromised sexual function and subsequent psychological problems. The aim of this study is to describe men's experiences of the impact of PC surgical treatment on their lives. Methods: The institutional databases of two Finnish university hospitals were searched for patients who underwent surgery for invasive PC between 2009 and 2019. Of 107 men, 29 agreed to an interview or a response letter. The data were analysed by thematic analysis. Results: The men experienced that their self-image had changed after PC diagnosis and treatment to a ‘cancer-modified me’. They also experienced that physical symptoms after surgery defined their everyday, as well as sexual, lives and that the whole content of life changed. Conclusion: Support and counselling for physical, mental, sexual and social factors should be part of the treatment of men with PC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13548
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cancer survivors
  • lived experience
  • penile neoplasms
  • qualitative research
  • surgical treatment
  • thematic analysis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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