Frank – Interview 74

Frank had discomfort in his penis and was finding urination difficult. A lump emerged on Frank’s penis. He saw his GP and was given a preliminary diagnosis of cancer, this was confirmed after a biopsy. Weeks later Frank went on to have a partial penectomy.

Frank realised he may have a problem when in February 2006 he began having discomfort in his penis, this was followed by a difficulty in urinating. The opening of Frank’s penis began to close up and form a skin over it. At first Frank dismissed this development as a minor problem, something that happens to most men. A few days down the line Frank noticed that a lump had emerged on his penis, but again he felt that this probably wasn’t anything too serious. The lump began to get larger, urinating began to get increasingly difficult and painful and the pressure of the urine made it spurt out to the side of Frank’s penis.

Frank spoke to a close friend about his symptoms. His friend encouraged him to see his GP, which he did. Frank’s doctor instantly gave a preliminary diagnosis of penile cancer. His GP referred him to see a consultant at the local hospital and also gave him some strong antibiotics for an infection. At this point Frank did not know anything about penile cancer and was dismayed not to be given any information.

Within five days of been given his initial diagnosis Frank attended a meeting with a consultant surgeon. The consultant arranged for Frank to have a biopsy taken, in order to confirm that he had penile cancer. The small operation to take a biopsy involved Frank staying overnight in hospital, Frank found the procedure quite painful. When the results of the biopsy came back, the surgeon was very blunt in confirming that the lump was cancerous and stated that he should have sought help earlier. The surgeon went on to talk about treatment and said it was likely that he would have to have his penis amputated. No other treatment options were offered. Frank was shell shocked.

After receiving his diagnosis Frank decided to discuss his condition with a set of his closest friends. He didn’t want to broadcast it around, but equally he felt that keeping it bottled up was not healthy. Like Frank, his friends did not know anything about penile cancer, but they were grateful that Frank had told them and Frank was grateful for the moral support.

Within a period of two weeks Frank was given an operation date at another regional hospital which had expertise in the area of penile cancer. On the day of the operation Frank chose to go to the hospital alone. He was nervous and was thinking in a quite fatalistic way, although he was trying to keep positive. The journey to the hospital was hard for Frank, however once he walked into the hospital reception he told himself I’m in good hands now; and he became much calmer.

Frank went on to have a partial penectomy and was discharged from the hospital after eight days. Frank was very sore for several weeks after the operation but was relieved that it was not as severe as he had feared. On leaving the hospital, Frank was given a range of pills including some painkillers. Frank was told that he may have trouble urinating after the operation, but managed this very well.

Frank cannot use urinals in public toilets and generally has to sit down to pee, whilst this can be awkward when he is somewhere that doesn’t have suitable facilities he is able to manage his life to try and avoid this occurring.

Frank needs to pee sitting down since his partial penectomy but said that sit-down toilet…

Age at interview 77

Gender Male

Age at diagnosis 72