Treating penile cancer

Treatment for penile cancer will depend on the size of the affected area and the rate at which the cancer hasspread.

For example, in most cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), where only the skin cells of the penis are affected, treatment will usually involve either using achemotherapy cream or having laser surgery to remove the affected area of skin. You will usually havea skin graft after surgery.

The main treatments for penile cancer that isn't at a very early stage are:

  • surgery
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy

Surgery will involve removing the cancerous cells and possibly some of the surrounding tissue.

In most cases, any physical changes to your penis after an operation can be corrected with reconstructive surgery . Skin and muscle can be taken from elsewhere in the body to recreate a functioning penis.

However, with early diagnosis and modern surgical techniques, your surgeon will usually be able to preserve as much penile tissue as possible.

As part of most treatments for penile cancer, the lymph glands (small organs that are part of the immune system) in the groin will be assessed to determine if the cancer has spread.

The test that's used, known as a sentinel node biopsy, is widely available in the UK. In some cases, the lymph glands may need to be surgically removed.

As with most types of cancer, the outlook for individual cases depends largely on how far the cancer has advanced at the time of diagnosis.

The Cancer Research UK website has more information about staging penile cancer and the types of treatment for cancer of the penis .

You can also read about penile cancer on the male cancer website Orchid . They also have a helpline you can call 0203 465 5766 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018