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Penile Cancer

Penile cancer

A rare but dangerous cancer


Also known as "penile cancer" or "squamous cell cancer of the penis"

Penile cancer is a malignant tumor, characterized by uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells and tissue, this growth being faster than normal causing the invasion and destruction of areas close to the penis.
These cancer cells also possess the ability to expand throughout the body via the blood or lymphatic fluid, leading then to carcinogenic metastases.

Most penile cancers are carcinomas of the skin, and most often originate in the glans, rarely in the foreskin or shaft of the penis, forming ulcers, even if they tend to progress to affect the rest of the glans or the corpora cavernous.
What are the causes of this cancer?

It is not known with certainty the exact cause of penile cancer.

However, it is known that certain types of papilloma caused by HPV, are associated with penile cancer. Some human papilloma virus can cause warts to appear on the genitals or anus or nearby. Studies suggest that HPV may have a role in cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina and penis, and oropharynx.

We can also mention other risk factors that help trigger cancer in general:

  • Smoking
  • Chemical Exposure
  • Family history of cancer



There are symptoms that you can recognize, such as:

  • Genital swelling
  • Abnormal growths on the penis
  • Abnormal flows, whether blood or other liquid
  • Sores or wounds
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Testicular pain
  • Discomfort in the scrotum


It is important that when the man detects any of these symptoms, they should consult a doctor immediately. These symptoms may be signs of other diseases and not necessarily cancer, but to determine this, the urologist needs to examine the patient and perform the necessary examinations.


Stages of penile cancer

The developmental stages of penile cancer are:

  • Stage I: Cancer cells are found only on the surface of the glans and foreskin.

  • Stage II: Cancer cells are found in the tissues of the glands and have spread to the corpora cavernosa.

  • Stage III: Cancer cells found in the penis and have spread to lymph nodes in the groin.

  • Stage IV: Cancer cells are already all over the penis and the lymph glands in the groin and have been able to expand to other parts of the body.

  • Recurrent disease: cancer recurs after treatment ends. May reappear in the same area or elsewhere in the body.

Prevention and Treatment

Self-examination can detect the presence of a growth or tumor on the penis. Go quickly to the doctor to determine if the pain is associated with growth. So if you discover a lump, sore, prolonged pain, etc., visit the urologist immediately.

For treatment, three types are used as standard. Of course, to determine which treatment is appropriate or if another treatment that may be of greater benefit, only the physician may determine it, according to patient history.

  • Surgery is the most common treatment for all stages of penile cancer. The appropriate type of surgery depends on the patient's condition, it can vary from the extraction of little tissue to the amputation of the penis.
  • Radiation Therapy uses high energy X-rays or other types of radiation to try to remove the cancer or prevent other cancer cells from growing.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop cancer. Can be placed through an injection directly into the area to be treated or orally by pill.

The prognosis is good with early diagnosis and treatment a survival rate at 5 years for this cancer is 65%. The urinary and sexual function can often be maintained even after removal of a significant portion of the penis.



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