Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer that affects the penis and is treatable when caught early. Penile cancer almost always affects men who are not circumcised.
There are various types of penile cancer. About 95 percent of penile cancer cases are squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer often begins underneath the foreskin but can spread to the rest of the penis.
Other types of penile cancer can include sarcoma, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
In many cases, men will notice abnormal growth or lumps on the penis. Other symptoms that can indicate penile cancer include:
• Changes in the thickness or color of the skin
• A rash or bumps with the appearance of a scab
• Blue-brown growths on the penis
• A discharge from beneath the foreskin
• A sore on the penis
• Lumps under the skin at the groin
Many of these signs can indicate other conditions, but patients should consult a urologist if any of these issues are noted.
Most cases of penile cancer are diagnosed by physical exam and biopsy. Evaluation of the lymph nodes of the groin by exam and imaging are an important part of the evaluation. Often the lymph node evaluation is done after antibiotic therapy to eliminate false positives caused by infection or inflammation.