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Cancer, for example, sometimes necessitates removal of part or all of the penis. The amount of penis removed depends on the severity of the cancer. Some men have only the tip of their penis removed. For others with more advanced cancer, the entire penis must be removed.
Because of the rarity of cancers which require the partial or total removal of the penis, support from people who have had the penis removed can be difficult to find locally. Website support networks are available. For instance, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors Network website provides information for finding support networks. Phalloplasty is also an option for surgical reconstruction of a penis.
Sexual support therapists and specialists are available nationally in the USA and can be accessed through the specialist cancer services. Many surgeons or hospitals will also provide this information post operatively. Local government health services departments may be able to provide advice, names, and contact numbers.
Genital surgical procedures for trans women undergoing sex reassignment surgery do not usually involve the complete removal of the penis. Instead, part or all of the glans is usually kept and reshaped as a clitoris, while the skin of the penile shaft may also be inverted to form the vagina (some more recently developed procedures, such as that used by Dr. Suporn Watanyusakul use the scrotum to form the vaginal walls, and the skin of the penile shaft to form the labia majora). When procedures such as this are not possible, other procedures such as colovaginoplasty are used which may involve the removal of the penis. Some trans women have undergone penectomies, however this is much rarer.
Issues related to the removal of the penis appear in psychology, for example in the condition known as castration anxiety, which happens as a result of a man having anxiety as to whether he may at some point become castrated.
Some men have undergone penectomies as a voluntary body modification, but professional opinion is divided as to whether or not the desire for penile amputation is a pathology, thus including it as part of a body dysmorphic disorder.
Male members in the sect of skoptsy (Russian: скопцы, "castrated") were required to become castrated, either only the testicles ("lesser seal") or also the penis ("greater seal").