Can You Lose Penis Length from Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Loss of penis length or girth is often not discussed as a side effect of prostate cancer treatment. Unfortunately, doctors rarely mention it during treatment consultation. This means that it may come as a shock for those affected by this side effect.1,2

What does the research say?

Research on this topic is minimal. One study showed an average decrease in penis length of about three-fourths of an inch for those affected. This study also suggests that any decrease in length is most noticeable in the first 10 days after surgery.2

However, as time and recovery progress, length typically returns. By 12 months post-surgery, penis length typically returns to pre-surgery length. But each body is unique. Some who experience a decrease in penis length may not regain that length over time.1,2

What does the community say?

The community recently responded to the question, “Have you lost penis length after prostate cancer treatment?" Many members shared their experiences with this treatment side effect.

Loss of length

Many respondents shared that they lost penis length following prostate cancer surgery.

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“I think that it definitely does. I never measured prior, but there is definitely a little difference after having my prostate removed.”

“No incontinence problems, but erections are not what they were, and my length has definitely shortened. I now am a ‘turtle.’”

Erection challenges

Many in the community also described other side effects of prostate cancer treatment that came along with loss of penis length or girth. For example, prostate cancer surgery may result in trouble achieving or maintaining an erection. Respondents shared their challenges with this postsurgical complication.1,2

“I had my prostate removed last January 2022. I did lose length. I was getting erections with Viagra. But that has stopped. I just got the injectable medication to stimulate erections. It’s a tiny needle, so it doesn’t hurt much at all. Having success with this.”

“Yes, penis length is shortened. I was not made aware of this before surgery. I had a radical prostatectomy in June 2020. No evidence of cancer at this time. With Viagra, I am able to attain a fairly good erection, although not like before surgery.”

“I had a radical prostatectomy, and nobody told me beforehand about loss of penis length. I never regained the ability to have any erection, so I’m not sure, but I think I’ve lost length.”

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Urinary leakage

For several respondents, a decrease in penis length has affected their ability to urinate. In particular, excess skin that resembles an uncircumcised foreskin has created challenges with urinating.

“I experienced a loss of penis length of about two inches due to the removal of internal tissue, which makes it very difficult/messy to urinate at times. I have tried penile rehabilitation, which was not successful.”

“I had a pretty normal 5”+ with unremarkable girth, but now I have a 1-1/2” stump that seemingly needs another circumcision. I have to pull back this new foreskin to keep from peeing myself when I stand at the toilet bowl. I can’t go hands-free sitting down.”

“Definitely loss of length. About 2”, it looks like I am uncircumcised. If I forget to pull back the excess skin, I pee on myself. Sitting down is just as bad. I have to push what’s left down, or I pee over the rim and onto the floor or my pants. Very demoralizing.”

Lack of communication from doctors

A few respondents shared their frustrations with doctors not preparing them for this side effect.

“When I was diagnosed with Gleason 9 stage IV prostate cancer in 2015, my doctor casually mentioned that I might lose a little length, but it was downplayed considerably.”

“My question is: Would you have chosen not to remove the prostate if you knew these consequences?? I would have the same thing. I surely did not know about losing penis length.”

“I wish that my urologist had been more forthcoming about this fact [possible loss of penis length]. He wasn’t. In my opinion, leaving out important (and uncomfortable) truths is equivalent to lying. I would not have changed my mind and chosen other treatment.”

“I lost approximately 2” after my prostate removal. I wish my doctor would have explained the after-effects.”

Thank you

We really appreciate everyone who joined the conversation. Thank you for being open and honest in sharing your experiences.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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