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Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is a malignant growth found on the skin or in the tissues of the penis. The most common type is squamous cell carcinoma, usually originating in the glans or foreskin. Penile cancer is rare in North America.

Risks for Penile Cancer

Human papillomavirus (HPV) may increase the risk of developing penile cancer. Circumcision may help prevent infection with HPV; men who were not circumcised at birth may have a higher risk of developing penile cancer.

Other risk factors include:

  • Being age 60 or older
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Using tobacco products
  • Having phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans

Diagnosis of Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is diagnosed by physical exam and history, and by biopsy. An examination of your body to check general signs of health will include checking the penis for signs of disease. A history of your health habits and past illnesses and treatments also will be taken. Cells or tissues will be removed in a biopsy for examination by a pathologist.

Penile Cancer Treatment

The Cancer Center's caregiver team aims to develop a personalized treatment plan to best meet the needs of the individual. Based on your diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be recommended separately or concurrently as part of your treatment.