What Is Penile Cancer?

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. Regional lymph node staging using lymphotropic nanoparticle enhanced magnetic resonance imaging with ferumoxtran in patients with penile cancer. The website of the National Cancer Institute https: This is a variation of lichen sclerosus et atrophicus and manifests as a white patch on the prepuce or glans, where it usually involves the urethral meatus. A lump on the penis.

Cellular Classification of Penile Cancer

What is penile cancer?

Penile cancer biopsies may include:. Detected penile cancer is classified in stages denoting its extent and progression. In order to stage penile cancer, a urologist may perform a CT scan, MRI or ultrasound, all of which produce internal images of the penis and help determine if the cancer has spread.

Treating penile cancer depends on the overall health of the patient, the stage and size of the tumor, and whether it is recurring or an initial incidence. Standard treatments for penile cancer include surgery to remove the cancerous tissue.

The most common types of surgeries to treat and remove penile cancer are:. A topical chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat stage 0 penile cancer. Radiation and other chemotherapy methods may also be recommended depending on the stage and severity of the cancer.

These are typically performed after a surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Penile cancer at a glance Penile cancer is the unregulated, malignant growth of cells and tissue of the penis, the male reproductive organ that transports sperm and urine out of the body.

Penile cancer is rare in the U. Risk factors of penile cancer include aging, smoking, the presence of human papillomavirus HPV and poor personal hygiene.

Men with penile cancer may notice a lump or red sores on the outside of the penis, as well as experience abnormal discharge or blood in semen or urine. Surgery is the standard treatment method for penile cancer and numerous methods are available depending on the stage of cancer and overall health of the patient. What is penile cancer?

Causes of penile cancer Causes of penile cancer, along with causes of most all cancers, are undetermined although several risk factors have been identified.

Symptoms and diagnosis of penile cancer Symptoms of penile cancer may include sores on the penis, abnormal discharge and bleeding. Penile cancer biopsies may include: Fine-needle aspiration FNA that removes tissue using a thin needle. Excisional, which removes the entire lump or abnormal-looking tissue. Incisional, which removes a portion of the lump or irregular tissue. Penile cancer stages include: Stage 0 — abnormal cells that resemble warts on the surface of the penis that may turn into cancer also known as carcinoma in situ.

Many boys are circumcised shortly after birth. Men who were not circumcised at birth may have a higher risk of developing penile cancer. These and other signs may be caused by penile cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:. The prognosis chance of recovery and treatment options depend on the following:.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the penis or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. Cancer can spread through tissue , the lymph system , and the blood:.

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began the primary tumor and travel through the lymph system or blood. The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if penile cancer spreads to the lung , the cancer cells in the lung are actually penile cancer cells. The disease is metastatic penile cancer, not lung cancer. View this video on YouTube.

Stage 0 is divided into stages 0is and 0a. In stage I , cancer has formed and spread to tissue just under the skin of the penis. Cancer has not spread to lymph vessels , blood vessels , or nerves.

The cancer cells look more like normal cells under a microscope. In stage IIA, cancer has spread:. In stage IIB, cancer has spread:. Cancer is found in the penis. In stage IV , cancer has spread:. Recurrent penile cancer is cancer that has recurred come back after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the penis or in other parts of the body. Different types of treatments are available for patients with penile cancer. Some treatments are standard the currently used treatment , and some are being tested in clinical trials.

A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

Surgery is the most common treatment for all stages of penile cancer. A doctor may remove the cancer using one of the following operations:. Lymph nodes in the groin may be taken out during surgery. After the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left.

Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy:. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

External and internal radiation therapy are used to treat penile cancer. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body systemic chemotherapy.

When chemotherapy is placed directly onto the skin topical chemotherapy or into the cerebrospinal fluid , an organ , or a body cavity such as the abdomen , the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas regional chemotherapy. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Topical chemotherapy may be used to treat stage 0 penile cancer.

See Drugs Approved for Penile Cancer for more information. Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer.

This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy. Topical biologic therapy with imiquimod may be used to treat stage 0 penile cancer. This summary section describes treatments that are being studied in clinical trials.

It may not mention every new treatment being studied. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI website. Radiosensitizers are drugs that make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy. Combining radiation therapy with radiosensitizers helps kill more tumor cells. Sentinel lymph node biopsy is the removal of the sentinel lymph node during surgery.

The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node to receive lymphatic drainage from a tumor. It is the first lymph node the cancer is likely to spread to from the tumor. The substance or dye flows through the lymph ducts to the lymph nodes. The first lymph node to receive the substance or dye is removed. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are not found, it may not be necessary to remove more lymph nodes.

After the sentinel lymph node biopsy, the surgeon removes the cancer. For information about side effects caused by treatment for cancer, see our Side Effects page. For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process.

Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment. Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment. Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future.

Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward. Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring coming back or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country.

Clinical trials supported by other organizations can be found on the ClinicalTrials. Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated. Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests. Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended.

The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred come back. These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups. For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section. Treatment of stage 0 may be one of the following:. Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients.

You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available. If the cancer is only in the foreskin , wide local excision and circumcision may be the only treatment needed.

Treatment of stage I penile cancer may include the following:. Treatment of stage II penile cancer may include the following:. Treatment of stage III penile cancer may include the following:. Treatment of stage IV penile cancer is usually palliative to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment may include the following:. Treatment of recurrent penile cancer may include the following:. For more information from the National Cancer Institute about penile cancer, see the following:.

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