Penile cancer is an uncommon, gender-specific, malignancy that has the potential to profoundly affect physical, social, sexual and psychological functions. For most patients the method of treatment is surgery. The degree of surgical intervention is dependent on the stage of the disease at presentation. To date, relatively little is known about the impact of penile cancer surgery on psychological function and overall quality of life in men. Understanding the outcomes of treatment will influence the development of optimal methods of rehabilitation. This paper provides an outline of the context of two reviews of the existing literature: (i) a systematic review of the quantitative literature and (ii) a meta-synthesis of the qualitative literature. The implications for clinical practice, and an outline of forthcoming research are also presented.