Treatment depends on the location of the tumor and how much it has spread.
In general, cancer treatment includes:
- Chemotherapy — uses medicines to kill cancer cells
- Radiation — using high powered x-rays to kill cancer cells
- Surgery – cuts out and removes the cancer
If the tumor is small and near the tip of the penis, surgery may be done to remove only the cancerous part of the penis. This is called a partial penectomy.
For more severe tumors, total removal of the penis (total penectomy) is often necessary. A new opening will be created in the groin area to allow urine to exit the body. This procedure is called a urethrostomy.
Chemotherapy may be used along with surgery. Bleomycin, cisplatin, or methotrexate alone or together are usually used for treating penile cancer.
Radiation therapy is often recommended in combination with surgery. A type of radiation therapy called external beam therapy is often used. This method delivers radiation to the penis from outside the body. External beam radiation therapy is usually performed 5 days a week for 6 – 8 weeks.
Joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems may help relieve the stress associated with diagnosis and treatment of penile cancer.
See: Cancer – support group
The outcome can be good with early diagnosis and treatment. The 5-year survival rate for penile cancers is 65%. Urination and sexual function can often be maintained even when a significant portion of the penis is removed.
Cancer of the penis frequently spreads to other parts of the body (metastasizes) early in the course of the disease.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if symptoms of penis cancer develop.
Review Date : 4/5/2009
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.