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Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is the formation of cancerous cells in the penis. Different types of cancers can develop in different parts of the penis, but more than 95 percent of penile cancers involve flat skin cells called squamous cells, and cancer often develops in the foreskin of uncircumcised men, or on the glans of the penis.  According to the American Cancer Society more than 1,640 new cases of penile cancer were diagnosed in America in 2014.

Skyline Urology provides safe diagnostic screening and tests, expert evaluation, and advanced treatment therapies for penile cancer, including management of potential side effects and complications from treatment.

Symptoms: 

The most common symptoms of penile cancer are sores, redness, irritation, discharge or bleeding of the penis. Also there may be a lump on the penis. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you suffer any of these symptoms, as cancer is more effectively treated at an early stage of development.

Risk Factors:

According to the American Cancer Society, research has found that there are certain risk factors that make some men more likely to develop penile cancer. One of the most important is human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, found in more than half of all penile cancers. HPV infection has been shown to be a contributing factor in several other cancers as well.

Other risk factors for penile cancer include:

  • Not being circumcised
  • Age: men over 55 are at higher risk
  • Smoking
  • Phimosis (a condition in which the penis foreskin cannot be pulled back over the glans)
  • AIDS

Please note that having one or more risk factors does not mean that disease will develop; moreover, many men develop penile cancer without having any risk factors at all. Understanding your risk is important, so that your physician can evaluate you fully for penile cancer and catch the disease as early as possible.

Evaluation & Diagnosis:

You will be given a thorough physical examination to check general signs of health and any physical symptoms of the disease.  At that time your physician will take a complete medical history. If a lump or suspicious growth is found, a biopsy may be performed to determine if the tissue is malignant.

Early detection of penile cancer is critical to success in treatment and quality of life. If penile cancer is found early, it can often be removed with little or no damage to the penis or with few sexual side effects. If it is found late, part or all of the organ may need to be removed, and invasive treatments might be required. It is therefore important that men seek medical attention for any lesions, growths, or other abnormalities on their penis.

If diagnosed with penile cancer, your Skyline Urologist and their multidisciplinary team will work with you to determine the stage of your cancer and the appropriate treatment and management of side effects.

Treatment:  

The treatment of penile cancer depends on the stage of the disease (1-4) and the location of the cancer, as well as the age and general health of the patient. Surgery is the most common treatment for penile cancer, and every effort is made to remove or kill the cancer with the minimum of damage to surrounding tissue or to the penis itself.

Treatment options for penile cancer include:

  • Mohs Surgery – the tumor is cut from the skin in thin layers
  • Laser Surgery – using a laser beam as a knife, for bloodless incisions and removal of surface lesions
  • Cryosurgery – freezing and destroying abnormal tissue
  • Circumcision
  • Wide local excision – surgery to remove the cancer and some normal tissue nearby
  • Amputation of the penis – either a partial or total penectomy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy