Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer. It primarily affects men over the age of 50. It is reported that there are just 500 new cases of penile cancer are diagnosed in the United Kingdom each year. Despite being rare, it can be a devastating cancer.
When referred a patient for diagnosis of penile cancer, a urologist will first take a blood test and confirm the patient’s medical history.
The specialist will then take a biopsy of the penis to test for penile cancer. A small sample of tissue will be removed for testing under a microscope. Three different biopsies can be carried out and include incisional biopsy, excisional biopsy, and lymph node biopsy if the lymph nodes are also thought to be involved.
An MRI scan and CT scan will also be used to ensure the cancer has not spread to further parts of the body. Patient survival rates depend on how early the cancer is discovered.
Symptoms of penile cancer can vary however, they can include the following.
The skin around the penis becoming discoloured. The skin can also become thick and bumps can develop in the area. Along with bumps or lumps, ulcers can form on the skin.
Ulcers can form on the shaft, foreskin, and head of the penis. Men may also find a foul-smelling discharge emanating from their penis. Discharge and/or blood can emerge from the ulcers.
Patients with penile cancer have four methods of treatment. These treatment methods include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy. Treatment can depend on the size of the cancer cells and growth.
Surgery for penile cancer may involve removing the cancerous cells and some of the tissue near the area. Men can expect to have reconstructive surgery to repair the areas of the penis that are affected by the cancer.
Some patients may undergo partial amputation of the penis. The penis can be reconstructed using muscle and tissue from other areas of the body. Modern medicine has made it possible to reconstruct the penis and give cancer suffers the chance to resume a normal life.