Surgical excision of the tumor is an effective treatment for penile cancer, but can result in functional disability and subsequent impact on psychosocial well-being.1
Radiotherapy offers an alternative approach, providing effective treatment and preservation of penile function. Brachytherapy alone can be used to treat tumors up to 4cm in size that are limited to the glans and do not extend beyond the balano-preputial sulcus.1 Brachytherapy can also be used in combination with EBRT.
Local control rates of brachytherapy (80–85%) are generally comparable to other approaches such as surgery and EBRT.1 Furthermore, conservation of the penis can be achieved in about 75–80% of cases.1 Late side effects associated with brachytherapy include telangiectasia and/or sclerosis, but these do not typically impact on quality of life. Urethral stenosis and/or necrosis are less common, typically affecting 10–20% and 10–15% of patients, respectively.1
Low dose rate (LDR) or high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy can both be used to treat penile cancer. For general information on different types of brachytherapy, see the background section.
and other cancers
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