What is it?

Penile cancer usually starts in the skin cells of the penis. It is caused by changes in the penile cells, causing them to grow abnormally. There are also precancerous changes, the most common form is penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PeIN). Penile cancer typically starts within the squamous cells on the skin and glans of the penia, and it is called squamous cell carcinoma. Other, less common types of penile cancer are adenocarcinoma, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Risk factors for penile cancer are older age, smoking, AIDS, HPV virus, poor hygiene and uncircumcised men.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Penile Cancer

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of penile cancer may include skin discoloration, skin thickening, lump, a sore that might bleed, a rash, a flat growth, smelly discharge under the foreskin and swelling.


After a physical examination, the doctor may take a penile biopsy. If cancerous cells are seen, the tumor will be staged and graded based on the abnormality of the cells and the size of the tumor. A lymph node biopsy may be done to determine whether it spread, as well as a CT- scan or an MRI.


Treatment for penile cancer depends on the size and spread of the tumor. For a small tumor which is on the top of the skin, it can be treated with cream or external beam radiation. Mohs surgery may be done to a pea-size tumor by shaving off the cancerous cells. With larger lesions, more tissue needs to be removed by surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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