Penile Cancer Treatment

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You found a lump or noticed other changes to your penis. You may be worried about penile cancer. Or you've been diagnosed with penile cancer.

Now what? It's important to know that penile cancer is rare. But this cancer is not rare to us.

At UVA Health, you'll find experts in this type of cancer. Known as urologic oncologists, they have special training in penile and other types of urologic cancer.

What UVA Health Experts Treat Penile Cancer? 

Urologic oncologists specialize in the complex care that's important for penile cancer. They have extra training in the skills needed to remove cancer from the penis. But they also use the latest tools to try to keep your penis functioning as normal as possible.

These experts team up with other cancer experts. This combined expertise means you get the most effective treatments. 

Treatment might include:

  • Surgery
    • Mohs microsurgery
    • Laser surgery
    • Circumcision
    • Wide local excision
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Biologic therapy
  • Radiosensitizers
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy followed by surgery (looks to see if the cancer has spread)

What Are Signs of Penile Cancer?

These symptoms can be caused by other conditions. So having these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that you have penile cancer. 

Don't be embarrassed to see a healthcare provider if you notice any of these common signs of penile cancer:

  • Lump or growth on the penis
  • Changes in the color or texture of the skin on the penis
  • Persistent discharge or bleeding from the penis
  • Pain, tenderness, or swelling in the penis
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin area

Who's Most at Risk for Penile Cancer?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection increases the risk of many cancers, including penile.

Other risk factors for penile cancer include:

  • Men who were not circumcised at birth
  • Being age 60 or older
  • Having phimosis (a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans)
  • Having poor personal hygiene
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Using tobacco products

How Is Penile Cancer Diagnosed?

Along with a physical exam, we may use these tests:

  • Biopsy (remove a tiny sample of tissue)
  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy
  • Incisional biopsy
  • Excisional biopsy

If penile cancer is diagnosed, you'll find the most advanced treatment options at UVA Health. The prognosis of penile cancer depends on several things. This includes:

  • Stage and location of the cancer 
  • Your overall health 
  • How well you respond to treatment

As with any type of cancer, treatment works best when the cancer is found at the earliest stage. But we have treatment options for even the most advanced cancer.