Penile cancer

Tumors of penis, like any other organ, can be benign and malignant. There is division of penis tumors on histological basis: epithelial tumors and non-epithelial.

More common is benign epithelial tumors. However, some benign and precancerous diseases of penis can later turn into cancer. Among malignant tumors of penis most often (in 95% of cases) squamous cell carcinoma occurs. Squamous cell carcinoma of penis is most often localized on foreskin or glans penis.

Tumor is characterized by slow growth and in case of early diagnosis well treatable. Other malignant tumors of penis, such as warty carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, sarcoma, are rarely diagnosed and account for about 5% of all cases.


Quite a large number of penile tumors can be detected at early stage. Appearance of any painful or painless formation on penis in any form (warts, blisters, thickening of skin and changing its color, occurrence of bleeding ulcers, white spots) should make you urgently sign up for consultation with doctor.

In any modern clinic, time from onset of first symptoms of disease and patient’s visit to clinic before start of treatment is reduced to minimum. This allows you to identify tumor at earliest stages at which treatment is most effective. Unfortunately, many men are embarrassed to consult doctor for advice, which leads to delayed diagnosis. It must be remembered that early treatment and timely detection of malignant tumors of penis will allow effective treatment.

Usually, penile tumors are located superficially and are available for detailed examination. When patient is first treated and examined, it is already possible to suspect cancer or other non-neoplastic diseases. In such cases, conduct series of diagnostic activities:

  • Biopsy (taking piece of tumor for research). Education may even be completely removed if it is very small. In some patients it`s possible to perform biopsy with fine needle, both of formation itself and of inguinal lymph node.
  • Radiography of chest is done in case of common forms of malignant tumors of penis and makes it possible to detect lung damage by metastases.
  • Computed tomography can detect the spread metastasis of  tumor to liver and other internal organs.

They also conduct morphological diagnostics with establishment of tumor type, cytological examination of smears and smears-prints, immunohistochemical and molecular diagnostics.

Confirmation of neoplasm of penis is carried out primarily on basis of biopsy and smears, prints of lesion on glass, followed by cytological examination. Important role is played by immunochemical determination of tumor markers.

Thanks to detailed examination, stage of disease is determined – from 0 to IV (smaller number means an earlier stage of cancer and lower prevalence of process). Based on established tumor stage, specialists develop treatment plan.


Prognosis for penile tumors can be considered quite favorable. Main condition for treatment effectiveness is timely access to doctor, since the smaller stage of disease, the greater likelihood of achieving complete cure. When drawing up treatment plan, all possible factors are taken into account, including type and stage of tumor, general condition of patient and his personal opinion. Treatment may consist of three main methods: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Surgery involves removal of primary focus within healthy tissue. Due to unique methods of neoadjuvant therapy, organ-replacing surgeries can be avoided –emasculations in combination with removal of regional inguinal and iliac lymph nodes (Duken’s operation), which are obsolete standard. Specialists use microsurgical techniques and radiation therapy, which allows to achieve good therapeutic and cosmetic results.


At early stage of malignant process development, clinical manifestations may be absent, especially in case of phimosis, when process develops under narrow foreskin. In some cases, tumor of penis may look like focal redness or tubercle, seal, papillary outgrowth or ulcer.

Most often, cancer of penis develops in area of coronary groove. In presence of phimosis there are copious secretions, sometimes bloody, which may have characteristic odor associated with the destructive process. Pain isn`t characteristic sign of penile cancer. With metastasis, enlarged inguinal lymph nodes may be detected.