Penile Cancer

What is Penile Cancer?

Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer that occurs in a man's penis. The penis is a part of the reproductive system that is responsible for delivering sperm to the vagina during sexual intercourse. Penile cancer is typically found at the glans (head of the penis) or further down the shaft. It is usually a slow-growing cancer, and most cases can be treated if they are caught early.

What are the Symptoms of Penile Cancer?

The most common symptom of penile cancer is a sore, soreness, or lump on the penis. Other symptoms may include changes in the color or texture of the skin on the penis, unusual discharge from the penis, and changes in the shape of the penis. It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by noncancerous conditions. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should see your doctor.

Who is at Risk for Penile Cancer?

The risk of developing penile cancer is higher among men who are aged 50 and older, have a family history of the disease, are non-circumcised, or live in certain tropical climates. While these factors can increase the risks of developing penile cancer, it’s important to remember that anyone can get penile cancer and it is important to visit your doctor if you have any symptoms.

How is Penile Cancer Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will check your penis for lumps or abnormalities. They may also perform laboratory tests, imaging scans, a biopsy, or genetic testing to determine if the cancer has spread and to rule out other conditions.

How is Penile Cancer Treated?

Treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors. Treatment options for penile cancer may include:

  • Surgery to remove the cancerous tissue
  • Radiation therapy to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells
  • Cryosurgery (freezing the cancer cells)

It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider the best approach to treatment. In some cases, surgery may be the only option, while in other cases a combination of treatments may be recommended.

What Are The Possible Side Effects?

The side effects of penile cancer treatment can vary depending on the type of treatment. Common side effects of surgery can include scarring and the loss of sensation or function depending on the extent of the surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy can also cause side effects such as fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and other changes in the body. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects before starting any treatment.

What is the Outlook for Patients with Penile Cancer?

The outlook for patients with penile cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and other factors. If the cancer is detected in the early stages, treatment is more likely to be successful. Prognosis can also vary depending on a patient's age, general health, and other medical conditions they may have. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the outlook may be more difficult. Your healthcare provider can provide more information about your individual outlook.


Penile cancer is a rare, but serious form of cancer. Early detection and treatment can help improve the outcomes and the prognosis for patients. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have a family history of penile cancer, it is important to talk to your doctor about your concerns. Your doctor can provide more information about penile cancer and the best treatment options for you.