Penile cancer is very rare and can occur on the skin of the penis, or within the penis.
- Squamous cell penile cancer – this begins in the cells that cover the surface of the penis
- Carcinoma in situ (CIS) – a particular type of squamous cell cancer where only the cells in the skin of the penis are affected and it hasn’t spread any deeper
- Adenocarcinoma – cancer that starts in the glandular cells of the penis that produce sweat
- Melanoma of the penis – the cancer develops in the skin cells that give the skin its colour
There are some risk factors such as HPV, smoking and phimosis – it is also more common in men over the age of 50.
There are a number of symptoms, such as a growth or sore on the penis that doesn’t heal within a few weeks, bleeding from the penis or under the foreskin, a smelly discharge, thickening of the skin of the penis, a change in colour of the skin of the penis or foreskin or a rash.
Penile cancer can be diagnosed with a blood test and is often confirmed with a biopsy, carried out by a urologist.
Surgery is often carried out to remove the cancerous cells and the surgeon may also remove some of the surrounding tissue. Often the surgeon will try to preserve as much of the penile tissue as possible, but they may need to use reconstructive techniques, such as taking skin and muscle from the patient’s body to recreate a functioning penis if necessary.