Cancer of the penis is a somewhat rare condition, which accounts for less than 1% of all the cancers in Europe.
If you have symptoms that suggest penile cancer, the doctor may check general signs of health and may order lab tests.
You may have one or more of the following procedures: biopsy, lymph node aspiration, CT scan, PETCT scan, MRI scans.
If the tests prove you have penile cancer you will then require further treatment. There are several different types of treatment and choosing the right treatment depends upon on many factors.
The treatment options for penile cancer may involve (either alone or as a combination):
It is most likely that you will need surgery as part of your treatment. With certain forms of surgery it can be possible to preserve the penis or to perform a reconstruction.
In some cases radiotherapy can be used to kill the cancerous cells. This involves directing radiation at the cancer to destroy it. Radiotherapy is not a suitable treatment when the cancer is invading deeply, it can result in the skin on the penis becoming chronically inflamed. This can make it difficult to be certain if the abnormal skin is due to a recurrence of the cancer or a skin reaction to the radiotherapy, which can make follow up assessments difficult and make further sets of biopsies necessary. Radiotherapy can also be used to treat an area where lymph nodes were found to contain cancerous cells from the penile cancer. The most common area is the groin.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. A chemotherapy cream may be used to treat a precancerous growth or a cancer that is very superficial and confined to the glans or the foreskin. This cream is applied to the specific area of the penis as directed by the consultant dermatologist who supervises this treatment. Chemotherapy drugs can also be given by injection for more advanced cancer. A consultant oncologist (Cancer specialist) supervises this form of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy may be used together with surgery, with radiotherapy or with both treatments.