Yes, penile reconstruction can affect an individual’s ability to undergo cancer screenings or other medical exams.
One of the most common cancer screenings for men is the digital rectal exam (DRE), which is used to check for prostate cancer. During a DRE, the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities. If a man has had a penile reconstruction that has shortened or narrowed the urethra, it may be difficult or impossible for the doctor to perform a DRE.
Other medical exams, such as urodynamic testing and cystoscopy, may also be difficult or impossible to perform after penile reconstruction. Urodynamic testing is used to measure the pressure and flow of urine, while cystoscopy is a procedure used to visualize the inside of the bladder and urethra. Both of these procedures require the insertion of a thin tube through the urethra.
In addition to the physical challenges, men who have had penile reconstruction may also experience emotional discomfort during cancer screenings or other medical exams. This is because these exams can be a reminder of the cancer that led to the reconstruction in the first place.
It is important for men who have had penile reconstruction to discuss their concerns with their doctor. The doctor can help them to develop a plan for cancer screenings and other medical exams that is tailored to their individual needs.
Here are some tips for men who have had penile reconstruction and need to undergo cancer screenings or other medical exams:
- Talk to your doctor about your concerns and develop a plan that is right for you.
- Be prepared to explain your penile reconstruction to the doctor or other healthcare professional who will be performing the exam.
- Ask the doctor or other healthcare professional to be sensitive to your needs and feelings.
- If you experience any discomfort during the exam, let the doctor or other healthcare professional know.
Penile reconstruction surgeries, such as phalloplasty and metoidioplasty, should not inherently affect an individual’s ability to undergo cancer screenings or other medical exams. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:
- Self-Examinations: Regardless of the type of genital surgery an individual has undergone, it is essential to continue regular self-examinations of the genital area. Self-examinations can help detect any changes or abnormalities that may require medical attention.
- Cancer Screening: Certain cancers, such as penile cancer, can still occur in individuals who have undergone penile reconstruction. Routine cancer screenings, such as visual inspections, may still be recommended by healthcare providers as part of ongoing healthcare maintenance. The frequency and type of screenings may vary based on individual risk factors and medical history.
- Pelvic Examinations: Some individuals may also need pelvic examinations as part of their routine healthcare, especially if they have reproductive organs (e.g., ovaries, uterus) or if they are at risk for conditions that affect the pelvic area. Pelvic examinations can be performed by a gynecologist or other qualified healthcare provider.
- Communication with Healthcare Providers: It is important to communicate with healthcare providers about the type of surgery an individual has undergone and any relevant medical history. This information will help healthcare providers tailor their approach to cancer screenings and medical exams as needed.
- Transgender-Affirming Care: Seek out healthcare providers who are experienced in transgender-affirming care. They can provide guidance on appropriate screenings and exams based on an individual’s specific medical needs and history.
- Medical History Documentation: Keep a detailed record of one’s medical history, including the type of genital surgery, any complications or revisions, and relevant dates. This information can be shared with healthcare providers as needed.