Man, 54, whose penis was amputated after cancer diagnosis begins worldwide quest to rebuild it

A street performer has recalled the moment he was told penis would need to be amputated after he was diagnosed with penis cancer in a new documentary.

Richard Stamp, 54, from London, who has worked as an actor and clown for over 20 years, was in Cambodia when he discovered a lump on his penis in 2018.

Despite suffering two months of pain, he put off seeking medical attention before he was finally diagnosed with penile cancer in Adelaide, Australia, and was told he would have to have his penis removed. 

He recalled the moment to The Mirror, explaining: ‘All that went through my mind was panic. Everything was spinning around – that’s the worst moment of my lifetime.’

The 54-year-old, who relationship fell apart after his penis amputation, is set to appear in a new Channel 5 documentary Shopping for A New Penis as he begins a worldwide quest to discover ways he can rebuild his organ.  

Richard Stamp, 54, from London, has recalled the moment he was told his penis would be amputated after he was diagnosed with penile cancer as 'the worst moment of his life'

Richard Stamp, 54, from London, has recalled the moment he was told his penis would be amputated after he was diagnosed with penile cancer as ‘the worst moment of his life’

He appears in a new Channel 5 documentary which documents his journey around the world to explore options to rebuild his penis

He appears in a new Channel 5 documentary which documents his journey around the world to explore options to rebuild his penis

Richard recalled the moment he was told his entire penis will have to be amputated by a doctor called Dr Cox (pictured in hospital)

Richard recalled the moment he was told his entire penis will have to be amputated by a doctor called Dr Cox (pictured in hospital) 

During the programme, he discussed his struggles with his ex-partner Angie, revealing that he and Angie were together for two years before his cancer was discovered. 

The 54-year-old, who has a son and daughter from a previous relationship, said he began avoiding sex before his diagnosis because it caused him pain.

He explained that it ‘build up over time’ and said penetration began to ‘really hurt’ leaving him feeling vulnerable. 

Richard also recalled the moment he was told his entire penis will have to be amputated by a doctor called Dr Cox.

Richard met with doctors around the world to investigate the options available for him to rebuild his organ

Richard met with doctors around the world to investigate the options available for him to rebuild his organ 

The 54-year-old said he has struggled with the reality of losing his penis, and admitted it had made him question who he was as a person

The 54-year-old said he has struggled with the reality of losing his penis, and admitted it had made him question who he was as a person 

He explained he met with a ‘frightening’ doctor who told him the news ‘very starkly’ before showing him a model of a penis as though he was ‘some sort of farm animal.’  

WHAT IS PENIS CANCER?

Cancer of the penis is very rare, with 631 men being diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year.

It is most often diagnosed in men over the age of 60, but younger men can also be affected, with around 25 per cent of cases diagnosed in men younger than 50.

However, according to Macmillan Cancer Support there were just two men aged between 25 and 29 diagnosed with penile cancer in 2016. 

It is is usually a slow growing cancer and if caught early before further spread the chances of survival are high and around 75 per cent of men diagnosed with penile cancer will survive the disease.

Unfortunately most men tend to ignore potential penile cancer symptoms for some time which leads to a delay in diagnosis. 

Symptoms can include:

  • A growth or ulcer on the penis, especially on the glans or foreskin.
  • Changes in the colour of the penis.
  • Skin thickening on the penis.
  • Persistent discharge with foul odour beneath the foreskin.
  • Blood coming from the tip of the penis or under the foreskin.
  • Unexplained pain in the shaft or tip of the penis.
  • Irregular or growing bluish-brown flat lesions or marks beneath the foreskin or on the body of the penis.
  • Reddish, velvety rash beneath the foreskin.
  • Small, crusty bumps beneath the foreskin.
  • Irregular swelling at the end of the penis.

Source: Orchid

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He went on to seek a second opinion at his local hospital St George’s in Tooting, which is Europe’s leading medical institute dealing with penile cancer.

However Dr Ben Ayres confirmed the worst, and told him amputation was necessary but there was a way he could save a tiny part of his penis.

Richard admitted he was terrified about, saying: ‘I remember before the operation, thinking, “I’m going to run away.” Then the realisation is where am I going to run to? If I don’t do this, I’m going to die.

‘Maybe it sounds crazy if you’re not a bloke, but living without a penis makes you question who you are.’

He went on to say he was a ‘normal bloke’ until he heard he would have to have his penis removed.

He added that he is now ‘really angry’ he let the situation ‘get that far’ and ‘feels like a complete fool.’  

Among the questions Richard faces the most is whether he can have sex, which he admits is a challenge.

He explained that he can still orgasm but is said it took some time to figure out how to do so with a partner and how to share his body with someone else. 

However he added that some women ‘don’t mind.’  

His journey around the world has shown him ‘what the world has to offer’, from plastic penises to prosthetic ones.

However he plans to go for a reconstruction, which takes three 13 hour surgeries. 

Doctors will remove flesh from his arm and bottom to form his penis, before an implant is placed inside.

Then a pump will be installed in his scrotum to give him an erection at the touch of a button.

He said it is ‘weird’ and he still wants to feel like himself ‘not an object’ or ‘something off Doctor Who.’

He explained he is going through a though process to build himself up for the operation by taking things a week at a time. 

Richard is now a speaker for the men’s cancer charity Orchid and is urging other men to learn from his mistakes.

He admitted it is ‘inbred’ in men to ‘be tough and not talk about stuff’ but warned others  to get something checked if something is wrong.

Shopping For A New Penis is on Channel 5 on Thursday at 10pm. 

What is a penis reconstruction? 

Penile Reconstruction presents a variety of complex issues which often requires not only surgical procedures but also psychological rehabilitation.     

The goal of penile reconstruction is to create and/or restore a functioning and aesthetically pleasing phallus, including the ability to achieve sexual function. 

An important factor is that the reconstructed phallus resembles a normal penis in all aspects.  

In a phalloplasty, doctors surgically create or recreate a penis.     

Phalloplasties have come a long way since the first one was performed in 1936.  

Doctors harvest ‘flaps’ of tissue – typically from the forearm, but sometimes from the thigh – in order to create the penis’s new exterior and urethra, so this donor area has to be treated with  laser hair removal on that the ‘donor area’ that become a penis will look realistic and hair-free.

Then the surgery happens in four stages, sometimes done separately, others in one long surgery, lasting between eight and 12 hours. 

Surgeons take the donor tissue from the forearm (or other site), then another skin graft, typically taken from the thigh, is then used to cover the forearm donor site. 

Then surgeons build the penis and urethra, connecting the latter to the bladder. 

In the fourth stage, most patients choose to have doctors insert a pump into the shaft of a penis, which is attached to a prosthetic testicle and saline bag stashed in the abdomen. 

With this system, the patient can squeeze the testicle, pumping the saline solution into his new penis so he can get an erection. 

The surgery is extensive and complex with most patients spend about a week in the hospital after the operation.

It takes about six weeks to be able to do strenuous activity or heavy lifting, and 12 to 118 months to fully heal.  

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