Cancer of the penis occurs when malignant cells develop in the skin or tissue of the penis. Cancer of the penis is very rare, but it is still very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. If penile cancer is detected early, the chances of a complete recovery are very good. Penile cancer can develop anywhere on the penis, but most develop under the foreskin, in men who have not been circumcised or on the glans.
Symptoms of penile cancer may include any of the following:
- A reddish, velvety rash.
- A painless growth, ulcer or sores on the penis, especially on the foreskin or glans.
- A persistent, foul smelling discharge under the foreskin.
- A wart like growth.
- Any change in colour on the penis or the foreskin
If penile cancer is suspected, diagnosis will usually begin with examining your penis. The first test you may have will be a biopsy; a small sample of the affected area is removed for analysis under a microscope. You may also require an ultrasound or a CT scan for a final diagnosis and to see if the cancer has spread.
If penile cancer is caught early enough, circumcision may be effective. In further stages a part of the penis may need to be removed. If penile cancer is small, treatment should not have any effect on your sex life or your ability to urinate. Larger more advanced cancers involving the penis may require more extensive surgery and often require additional treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy in conjunction with surgery.