Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer that forms in a man’s penis, a reproductive organ that also passes urine out of the body. When penile cancer is detected early, it can be treated with little to no effect on sexual function. However, if the cancer has spread, it can affect your ability to urinate and to get an erection. In severe cases, it can cause death.

Penile Cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center

Markey’s penile cancer team provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with cancers of the penis. Our team includes multiple urology, oncology and radiology specialists with a broad range of expertise in cancer care and treatment. Our team provides expertise and offers patients personalized care and treatment plans suited for their needs.

Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the penile cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.

Penile cancer can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • An area of skin at the tip of the penis becoming thicker or changing color
  • A lump on the penis
  • A reddish, velvety rash
  • A sore, which could bleed
  • Flat, bluish-brown growths
  • Lumps in the groin area
  • Small, crusty bumps
  • Smelly discharge
  • Swelling, making it hard to draw back the foreskin

Most of the time, many of these symptoms are signs of an infection or even an allergic reaction. But if you experience any of them, seek treatment immediately. Penile cancer is easier to treat and causes less damage to your penis before it spreads. A great way to catch penile cancer early is to check your penis for lesions or unusual bumps when you urinate or wash your penis.

According to the American Cancer Society, there is an 80 percent five-year relative survival rate among penile cancer patients where the cancer had not spread. When the cancer spreads outside the penis to nearby structures or lymph nodes, there is a 50 percent five-year relative survival rate. If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, there is only a 9 percent five-year survival rate. On average, penile cancer has a 65 percent relative survival rate after five years.

You can lower your risk of penile cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco use has been tied to penile cancers.
  • Get an HPV vaccine. Many penile cancers are tied to HPV. Several strains of this virus can be easily prevented with a vaccine that is safe for both sexes from age 9 and up. Many people up to age 45 are also eligible for this vaccine, although it may not offer the same protection.
  • Practice good genital hygiene. Clean your penis frequently, especially if you are uncircumcised, to help prevent penile cancer.
  • Practice safe sex. Most people with HPV have no signs of the disease.

Staying physically active, limiting alcohol consumption and getting regular screenings can limit your risk of developing other types of cancer and may also make it easier for you to recover from penile cancer treatment.

  • Age
  • HPV
  • Multiple sexual partners over your lifetime
  • Phimosis (a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled over the glans)
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • UV light treatment for psoriasis

While uncircumcised men appear to be at higher risk for penile cancer, there is ongoing debate whether getting circumcised lowers men’s risk.

  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the multidisciplinary clinic on the first floor of the Whitney-Hendrickson Building. Open Google Maps
  • You can register at the front desk or registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.

Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective. At Markey, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating penile cancer below.

Search Our Ongoing Urological Cancer Clinical Trials, Including Penile Cancer

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.