Advanced male genital cancer treatment in San Diego
Advanced male genital cancer treatment in San Diego
Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center specialists provide the most effective penile cancer treatments with a focus on early detection. A penile cancer diagnosis usually requires a biopsy, and when cancer is found in the early stages, treatment is very likely to be successful.
Scripps physicians use the most advanced treatments, including laser surgery and biologic therapy, to eliminate cancer while maintaining quality of life. In addition, our multidisciplinary, collaborative board of cancer specialists reviews complex care plans to ensure patients receive the best possible care from diagnosis to recovery.
Treatment and clinical trials
Penile cancer, or cancer of the penis, is a rare type of male genital cancer that usually starts in the skin cells and affects the foreskin or the glans. The most common type of this genitourinary cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which represents more than 95% of all cancers of the penis. They can grow anywhere on the penis, but most often affect the foreskin on uncircumcised males, or the glans. Squamous cell carcinoma tumors tend to grow slowly and can usually be cured if they are detected at an early stage.
Your Scripps MD Anderson cancer care team includes professionals from every area of oncology, including physicians, surgeons, radiation oncologists and nurses who specialize in cancer care. Learn more about how Scripps puts you at the center of care.
Penile cancer treatment options at Scripps MD Anderson
Treatment options for cancer of the penis may include:
Penile cancer surgery
Depending on the stage of the cancer and how far it may have spread, Scripps physicians may use several surgical procedures to treat penile cancer. These include:
- Laser surgery is when the physician uses a laser beam to destroy abnormal cells while preserving healthy tissue around them.
- Cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy, is a procedure that uses liquid nitrogen applied directly to the treatment area to destroy external tumors through extreme cold temperatures.
- Excisional surgery removes the tumor and surrounding tissues.
- Circumcision is a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin.
- Penectomy is when the surgeon may remove part or all of the penis, depending on how far the cancer has spread.
- Sentinel lymph node dissection is when the surgeon also removes lymph nodes that are most at risk if cancer spreads.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may be part of a treatment plan for penile cancer, depending on the extent of the cancer and whether a patient is a candidate for surgical removal of the lymph nodes in and around the groin. It may also be used as part of palliative care for cancer that has spread.
The two types of chemotherapy used to treat penile cancer include:
- Topical chemotherapy is when a chemotherapy drug may be applied directly onto the skin to help fight cancer growth. The drug used most often to treat penile cancer topically is 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), which is applied daily as a cream for several weeks.
- Systemic chemotherapy may include bleomycin, an injected chemotherapy drug that may help slow or stop the growth of cancer cells, which may be part of a penile cancer treatment plan.
Imiquimod cream, a biologic therapy that works with the body’s immune system to destroy cancer, may be used to treat very early stage cancers.
Penile cancer clinical trials
Some cancer treatment plans may involve clinical trials. Talk with your physician about whether a clinical trial is right for you.
For a list of clinical trial that are currently enrolling patients, see our current list of clinical trials.
Penile cancer treatment locations
Scripps diagnoses and treats penile cancer at numerous locations throughout San Diego County. From Chula Vista and La Jolla to Encinitas and beyond, our extensive network of Southern California cancer care centers includes:
- Four Scripps hospitals on five campuses
- Outpatient clinics
- Specialty cancer treatment centers
For details on specific centers and their services, visit cancer care locations.
Support groups, services and resources
As leaders in cancer care, we know what it takes to fight a winning battle. That’s why we equip our patients with the support and resources necessary to achieve their best possible outcome. From connecting you with support groups and services to empowering you with the latest resources and research, Scripps offers a comprehensive lineup to help you along every step of your cancer journey.
Penile cancer support groups for patients, family members and survivors
In support of our patients, survivors, their family members and the community, we host a handful of cancer support groups as well as a range of free workshops and health and wellness events on a number of topics such as:
- Expressive writing
Check the current list of support offerings or contact your oncology social worker or cancer care coordinator.
For info about other cancer support groups in the San Diego community, call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.
Support services for cancer patients
We are here for you — not only as your oncologists, but as a robust multidisciplinary team of experts who understands that your cancer journey is about much more than your medical treatment. Specifically, Scripps MD Anderson offers a variety of patient support services to ensure your physical, psychological and emotional well-being as well as resources for dealing with the logistical and financial aspects of cancer care. Our services and resources include:
- Oncology nurses and nurse navigators with extensive clinical expertise in cancer care to help guide you and your caregivers to make informed decisions and ensure your optimal care.
- Palliative care to provide an extra layer of supportive care to manage pain and relieve symptoms, offer emotional and spiritual support, and improve your quality of life.
- Oncology social workers specially trained to provide counseling, connect you with community and medical resources, assist with transportation and housing and coordinate care after discharge.
- Our registered dietitian nutritionists offer individualized nutrition support for patients whose efforts to optimize their nutrition may be affected by cancer symptoms or treatment side effects.
- Referrals and professional care from experts in psychology, psychiatry and emotional health, including individual and family counseling to help with the emotional challenges of cancer.
- Physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy services, including wound care, voice therapy and swallowing therapy, lymphedema therapy, balance and vestibular rehabilitation, yoga and more.
- Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine for patients interested in mind-body healing through acupuncture, biofeedback, herbal nutrition, massage therapy, integrative cancer care and more.
- Nondenominational spiritual care offered by our chaplains to help coordinate spiritual care with your own clergy, rabbi or spiritual advisor.
- Visiting patient services if you reside beyond San Diego and want help arranging appointments or learning more about short-term lodging.
For the full spectrum of offerings, please visit our cancer patient support services section.