Penile Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with penile cancer, the physicians at Rogue Valley Urology can provide you with various treatment options. Penile cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the external male reproductive organ, most often beginning in the cells lining the penis. Cancer of the penis is very rare in the United States, most often affecting men who are older and/or uncircumcised. Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment and a better chance for cure.

Symptoms of Penile Cancer

Signs of penile cancer will most likely present on the foreskin, the skin of the shaft of the penis, or the surface of the head of the penis. These include:

  • Redness, irritation, or discoloration
  • A sore or lump
  • Erosion of the skin

When to See Your Doctor

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician. There is a good probability that these symptoms may be linked to an infection or allergic reaction, which can be treated with topical ointments and creams.

Causes of Penile Cancer

Penile tumors are believed to be caused by the cancer-producing effects of secretions that become trapped within the foreskin if they are not regularly washed away. Due to the high rate of circumcision in the United States, penile cancer is relatively unusual. However, scientists are studying other causes of penile cancer, with a focus on human papilloma virus (HPV), which has strong links to cervical cancer in women.

Other risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Phimosis – a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Using tobacco products

Treatment for Penile Cancer

For tumors that appear on the surface of the skin, the problem may be treated with a topical cream with minimal side effects. For larger tumors, the following treatments are likely:

  • Moh’s surgery – a small excision that shaves off layers of abnormal tissue until normal tissue is reached
  • Surgery to remove tissue and the draining lymph nodes in the groin
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy

Learn More

  • The American Urological Association’s webpage on Penile Cancer.
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s webpage on Penile Cancer.