Penile Cancer

Penile cancer care at Scripps

Scripps Health offers treatment options for penile cancer.

Penile cancer care at Scripps

Penile cancer is a rare form of male genital cancer and is most commonly diagnosed as a squamous cell carcinoma. It can occur in or on the penis, with most cancers developing on the foreskin or on the glans. Squamous cell carcinoma tumors tend to grow slowly and can usually be cured if they are detected at an early stage.

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Detection and diagnosis of penile cancer

Penile (penis) cancer can be diagnosed through the following procedures:

  • Biopsy, which could be performed as fine-needle aspiration (FNA), incisional (removal of part of suspicious growth) or excisional (removal of entire area of a suspicious growth).

Penile cancer treatment

Treatment options for a cancer of the penis may include:


  • Laser surgery, which can be performed to preserve healthy portions of the organ.
  • Cryosurgery, also known as cyrotherapy, is a procedure in which the affected tissue is frozen to destroy the cancer cells.
  • Excisional surgery, in which the cancer and surrounding nearby tissues are removed.
  • Penectomy, which can be a partial surgical removal of the penis or full amputation.
  • Sentinel lymph node dissection, which is the removal of the lymph node that is most at risk of a cancer’s spread beyond its origin.

Radiation therapy

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.


Bleomycin is an FDA-approved chemotherapy drug for penile cancer that may be part of a treatment plan.

Biologic therapy

For very early stage penis cancers, a topical biologic therapy may be part of a treatment plan. Certain drugs known as radiosensitizers may also be combined with radiation therapy with the aim of destroying more cancer cells.

Support services

To enhance the care of people dealing with bladder cancer, Scripps Health also offers the following services: