About Penile Cancer

Nationally Recognized

Among the top in cancer research and care. The only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West.

Huntsman Cancer Institute was ranked as a top U.S. hospital by U.S. News & World Report

Penile cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the penis. About one-third of penile cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is spread through skin-to-skin and sexual contact.

Learn more about HPV and the HPV vaccine.

Signs and symptoms of penile cancer include redness, irritation, or a lump or sore on the penis. When found early, penile cancer can usually be cured.

Learn more about penile cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

Find a Penile Cancer Doctor

Causes & Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean you are sure to get cancer. It means your chances are higher than the average person. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your cancer risk.

These are risk factors for penile cancer:

  • Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Being age 60 or older
  • Having a condition of the foreskin called phimosis
  • Having poor hygiene
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Using tobacco

Learn more about ways to prevent cancer.

Diagnosis & Stages

Diagnosis of Penile Cancer

These methods are used to diagnose penile cancer:

  • Tissue sampling: The health care provider removes cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.
  • Physical exam and history: A health care provider examines your body for signs of disease. Your personal health habits, past illnesses, and symptoms help guide the exam.

Stages of Penile Cancer

Staging is the process used to find out whether cancer has spread within the penis or to other parts of the body. There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body: through tissue, the lymph system, or the blood.

These are the stages used for penile cancer:

  • Stage 0
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV

When cancer spreads from where it started to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. These metastatic cancer cells are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if penile cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually penile cancer cells. The disease is metastatic penile cancer, not bone cancer.

Learn more about penile cancer staging from the National Cancer Institute.

Treatments

Huntsman Cancer Institute offers different types of treatment for people with penile cancer. These are the most common: 

The type of treatment or combination of treatments each patient has depends on the penile cancer stage, the care team’s recommendations, and the patient’s wishes.