After your doctor has determined the stage of your penile cancer, he or she will develop a comprehensive treatment plan designed to provide you with the best outcomes and minimal side effects. Treatments vary depending on disease state and your doctor will walk you through the plan that has been personalized for you.
Surgery is the most common treatment for all stages of penile cancer. Your doctor may use one of several procedures including:
- Mohs microsurgery – The tumor is cut from the skin in thin layers. As each layer of skin is removed, it is viewed under a microscope to check for cancer cells. Layers are removed until no cancer cells are seen.
- Laser surgery – A laser beam of light is used to remove lesions, or a tumor, on the skin
- Cryosurgery – Abnormal cancer cells and tissues are frozen and destroyed
- Inguinal Lymphadenectomy (groin dissection) – This surgical approach is used as a treatment for nodal disease
- Circumcision – Removes the foreskin of the penis
- Partial penectomy – The tumor on the penis, along with a part of the penis, is removed
- Total penectomy – The entire penis is surgically removed
Depending on the disease state of the cancer, radiation therapy may be used following surgery to treat affected lymph nodes or used to treat early stage tumors.
In a topical cream form known as 5-Fluorouracil is applied to the penis and is used only for precancerous lesions or in very early stage penile cancer. Systemic chemotherapy is sometimes integrated with surgery in advanced cases.
Preventing Penile Cancer
While there currently are no standard screening exams for penile cancer, your best preventative measure is the self-exam. As with many of types of cancer, it’s important to know your body and recognize, and report to your doctor, any changes that look out of the ordinary. Penile cancer often starts as a reddened or scaly patch or an open sore on the penis. For a man who has foreskin, it’s important to keep the area clean and to examine the area underneath it regularly. It’s also important to quit smoking and practice safe sex.