Penile cancer usually forms on or under the foreskin at the glans penis (the cone-shaped end of the penis). It is uncommon in the United States and even rarer in men who have been circumcised.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes about one-third of penile cancer cases. When found early, penile cancer is usually curable.
Risk Factors For Penile Cancer
men who are circumcised have a lower risk of penile cancer. This is because circumcision may help prevent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Men who were not circumcised at birth may have a higher risk of developing penile cancer. Other risk factors for penile cancer include:
- Being age 60 or older
- Longstanding irritation under the penis
- Many sexual partners
- Phimosis (this is when the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans)
- Poor personal hygiene
- Smoking or using tobacco products.
Symptoms of Penile Cancer
Signs of penile cancer include sores, discharge, and bleeding.
Other symptoms include redness, irritation, or a sore or lump on the penis that does not heal.
Diagnosis of Penile Cancer
A doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask you about your lifestyle and any history of relevant conditions. They may also order the following tests and procedures to diagnose penile cancer:
- Biopsy - this is when a small sample of cells are taken so that they can be viewed under a microscope
- Sometimes imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Treatment of Penile Cancer
Treatments for penile cancer may include:
- Topical fluorouracil or imiquimod
- Radiation therapy
In most men, cancers are small and have not spread.
- Penile Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/penile/patient/penile-treatment-pdq#_1