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Penile Cancer

Cancer Type

What is Penile Cancer?

When cells on or within a man's penis proliferate uncontrollably, penile cancer results. Typically, it starts in skin cells and moves throughout the entire body.

It is extremely rare. But it is treatable, particularly if discovered early.

Primary cancers are defined as those that originate in a specific tissue or organ. There are approximately 200 different types of cancer depending on these factors. The process of cancer spreading from one tissue to another is referred to as "metastasis". Secondary or metastatic cancers are cancers that have spread from their primary sites, or the places from which they originally originated.

Asarfi oncology department excels at offering top-notch cancer treatment because of their combined more than 30 years of clinical excellence. Our oncologists and onco-surgeons treat all types and forms of cancer using a multidisciplinary approach. They are assisted by a team of highly skilled reconstructive surgeons who treat all of our patients, both adults and children, with extensive care, as well as by the newest cancer treatment technologies.


Every kind of tissue in the penis contains a variety of cell types. Penile cancer can develop from these cells in a variety of ways. The differences matter because they affect how serious the cancer is and what kind of treatment is needed.

The skin cells of the penis are where almost all penile malignancies start.

A Squamous Cell Tumour

These are produced by tiny, flat skin cells called squamous cells. Although they can develop anywhere on the penis' skin, the foreskin and the organ's head (glans) are where they most frequently occur. More than 95% of penile malignancies are these slow-growing tumours. There are two subtypes: verrucous carcinoma and Bowen's disease. It is referred to as carcinoma in situ (CIS) or penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) if the cancer has not spread to any tissues beneath the skin's surface.


The cells of the sweat glands produce these. A few are categorised as having Paget's disease in an extramammary form.


These develop in the skin's pigment-producing cells. Though they are known to spread swiftly, these tumours are less common than squamous cell carcinomas.

Cancers with basal cell carcinomas

These are found in the deepest layer of skin cells. They are not likely to spread and grow at a slow rate.


Sarcomas can arise in connective tissues like muscles, fat, or cartilage, or they can occur in blood vessels. Untreated, these have a tendency to grow very quickly.


It is best if a man receives a penile cancer diagnosis as soon as possible. Early diagnosis increases the likelihood of a successful course of treatment and eventual cure. If the diagnosis is postponed, the condition may get worse. Advanced cancer treatment is probably going to be more painful and less successful.

You may feel and see your penis when you urinate, which can help in the early detection of the condition. Men who have not had their cervixes cut are more likely to develop penile cancer. But all men ought to know the warning signs and symptoms of penile lesions.

See your doctor if any of the following are visible on the head, shaft, or foreskin of your penis:

  • a change in skin colour or thickness in a certain area
  • Having a swollen penis
  • An unhealing ulcer or sore that
  • A velvety red rash.
  • Greasy clumps of different sizes
  • flat growths with a bluish brown colour
  • GI odorous discharge

Sadly, penile cancer often goes undiagnosed until it has advanced. Patients find it awkward or embarrassing to talk about their genitalia. They can also be afraid of having surgery or receiving penis treatment. Make an appointment with a healthcare provider right away if you notice any of these symptoms.


Penile tumours are believed to be caused by bodily fluids that become trapped in the foreskin. They can lead to cancer if they aren't eliminated on a regular basis. Smokers and older men are more likely to develop penile cancer. Disorders like AIDS may be the cause of penile cancer.

Another likely reason is the human papillomavirus (HPV). A sexually transmitted virus is HPV. Many penile cancer patients have been found to have HPV-16 antibodies. Cervical cancer and HPV have been connected historically.


Penile cancer patients are assigned a clinical stage based on the findings of a physical examination, biopsy, and any imaging tests that may have been conducted. If surgery was done to check nearby lymph nodes for cancer, the pathologic stage, also referred to as the surgical stage, can be determined. Generally speaking, the pathologic stage—which is what the table below uses—is more precise.

Because the staging of penile cancer is so intricate, ask your doctor to explain it to you in terms that you can understand.


In order to confirm your condition, your doctor or you may order the following tests if you feel that something is off:

  • A Physical Examination: You will be examined by your physician, who will also inquire about your symptoms.
  • Imaging Examinations Imaging tests include CT scans, ultrasounds, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These check your internal organs for cancerous growths or other signs of the disease spreading.
  • CT Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure in which your doctor removes a small sample of tissue from a skin lesion on your penis. To find out if it contains cancer cells, it is put through laboratory tests.


Early detection of penile cancer can lead to successful and low-risk treatment. A tumour on top of the skin may be treated with a skin cream. This cream doesn't have a lot of side effects. External beam radiation can also be used to treat small lesions.

In cases where the lesion is larger but still the size of a pea, a tiny local excision, also known as "Mohs surgery," may be necessary. In this type of surgery, abnormal tissue is removed layer by layer until normal tissue is exposed. After undergoing either of these treatments, the penis ought to appear and behave normally. Careful follow-up is necessary to make sure there isn't an early return, though.

If the tumours are small, it is unlikely that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Thus, excision of the lymph nodes is not always necessary.

More tissue must be removed from larger lesions. Your surgeon may choose to drain or remove lymph nodes in the genital area. It's possible that a triage of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery will be needed. It might be necessary to remove the penis entirely if the cancer has spread.

One cannot stress the value of early detection. Not only will your outcomes be better, but you'll have more choices for therapy.