Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is a malignant neoplasm of the skin or penile tissues.


  • It is a rare condition with an incidence of 0.1 to 0.9 cases per 100,000 males in the western world.
  • In African, Asian and South American countries, the frequency may be up to 9 cases per 100,000 males, possibly due to the increased incidence of STDs and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

Risk Factors

  • Phimosis
  • Poor hygiene
  • Chronic inflammation (e.g. balanoposthitis, balanitis xerotica obliterans and lichen sclerosus)
  • Drugs, such as sporalene
  • Smoking (multiplies the risk by 4 to 5 times)
  • HPV
  • History of multiple sex partners and sexual activity onset at a young age (multiplies the risk by 3 to 5 times)


Commonly, the patient sees a harmless, non-healing lesion on his penis that resembles an ulcer or cauliflower.

Other symptoms may include:

  • bleeding from the lesion
  • a burning sensation
  • itchiness

Due to the lack of pain and feelings of embarrassment, many patients do not seek medical advice during the early stages of the disease.


The diagnosis comprises the clinical examination of the patient and biopsy sampling of the damage, performed under local anesthesia.

In cases of metastatic disease, apart from the above, additional tests are required, such as:

  • Scrotal ultrasound
  • Pelvic CT scan
  • Pelvic MRI scan
  • Bone scintigraphy


  • In the early stages, when the lesion is small, it can be treated with laser or cryotherapy.
  • In the later stages, it may require local surgical resection of the lesion or even resection of a segment of the penis (penectomy), combined with lymph node dissection in the groin area and pelvis.