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Men's Health: Prostate cancer therapy may shorten the penis

Researchers say men should be counselled about this side-effect before beginning treatment

A small study has shown that treatment for prostate cancer can reduce penis length, in some cases by as much as 40 per cent.

Dr. Ahmet Haliloglu and his colleagues at the University of Ankara in Turkey decided to investigate anecdotal reports of some men claiming their penis was altered by cancer treatment.

The researchers measured stretched penile length in 47 men before treatment and every three months for 18 months after treatment started. During this time, stretched penile length decreased on average from 14.2 centimetres to 8.6 centimetres.

The men’s average age was 68. They all received radiation therapy as well as drugs to reduce production of male hormones that stimulate tumour growth.

“Patients should be counselled before therapy that penile shortening may occur,” the researchers recommend.