Penile Cancer Treatment


The main external reproductive organ, the penis is responsible for passing sperm and urine from the body.

The development of penile cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States, accounting for approximately 1,290 new cases or one in 100,000 men each year.

The majority of penile cancers start in the skin cells of the penis and fall into one of the following categories: squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, basal cell cancer, adenocarcinoma or sarcoma. About 95 percent fall into the squamous cell carcinoma category, which are slow-growing tumors mainly found on the part of the penis called the glans or in the foreskin of men who have not been circumcised.

Treatment Options

Like other cancers, the treatment for penile cancer depends largely on the stage of the disease at diagnosis and the size of the tumor. Treatment options can include one or more of the following:

The most common treatment for penile cancer, several types of surgeries can take place depending on when and where the cancer is detected.
The first, called circumcision, is where the foreskin of the penis is removed. This surgery is used to treat cancers found only in the foreskin of the penis in men who have not previously undergone this procedure earlier in life.
Another procedure, called a simple excision, takes place when the tumor is removed with a surgical knife along with a small part of the surrounding area to ensure the entire tumor has been removed. If the area that is removed becomes large, a skin graft is often performed so that there is sufficient skin to cover the penis.
The Mohs surgery, is a technique where thin layers of the skin cancer are shaved away and simultaneously examined under a microscope. In this procedure only the necessary amount of skin that contains the tumor is removed.
Laser surgery, which uses a beam of light to kill cancerous cells, can be used to treat certain forms of penis cancer that are only on the outer layer of the skin.
Finally, a partial or total penectomy can be performed, where part or the entire penis is removed, which is dependent on the size of the tumor.
Radiation Therapy
Using high energy rays given internally or externally to kill cancer cells, radiation therapy is used to treat early-stage penile cancer instead of surgery at times, or in more advanced tumors that have spread from the penis.
For the treatment of penile cancer, chemotherapy can be given intravenously and by pill as well as topically placed on the penis. It can be given before or after surgery to remove the tumor.


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.