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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2001;13(4):284-7; quiz 288.

Treatment of localized carcinoma of the penis: a survey of current practice in the UK.

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Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.


Consensus opinion from published reports on the management of localized carcinoma of the penis recommends that patients with small, distal, non-poorly differentiated lesions should be offered penis-conserving treatment, while those with larger or more advanced lesions should be considered for amputative surgery. A questionnaire survey was sent to 289 urologists and 237 oncologists in the UK to assess their practice for the treatment of localized carcinoma of the penis. Consultants were asked to choose between penis-conserving surgery, amputation or radiotherapy as their preferred treatment for four examples of localized disease. Oncologists were also asked to indicate their preferred radiation modality (external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy). For treating a small lesion situated distally on the glans penis, 56.7% of urologists and 94.5% of oncologists preferred penis-conserving methods; 28.8% of urologists and one oncologist preferred partial or total amputation. In total, 43.2% of urologists would consider amputative surgery for this lesion compared with only 5.5% of oncologists. Only 23.3% of oncologists considered using brachytherapy. For a 4 cm lesion situated distally, the majority of urologists surveyed (82.0%) preferred amputative surgery, while the majority of oncologists (68.5%) preferred conservative treatment. For a 1.5 cm lesion extending on to the penile shaft, 68.5% of urologists preferred amputative surgery while 85.0% of oncologists preferred penis-conserving options. For a 4 cm lesion extending on to the shaft, the vast majority of urologists (86.5%) preferred amputation as treatment compared with only 36.9% of oncologists. The results of the survey suggested that clinicians tended to favour the treatment modality of which they have most experience. As such, urologists tended to prefer surgery while clinical oncologists tended to prefer radiotherapy, irrespective of the size and position of the primary tumour or consensus opinion. These results emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary clinics and site specialization, so that both clinicians and patients can make informed choices about optimal treatment, based on the knowledge of all available treatment options.

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