Penile Cancer Treatment

Explore advanced penile cancer treatment options available in China.

Why going to China for cancer treatment?

Treatment options for penile cancer will depend on the size of the tumor, whether it’s spread and how likely it is that the cancer will return (recur) after treatment. Treatment may involve a care team that includes your primary care provider, a cancer specialist (oncologist), a urinary tract specialist (urologist) and a skin specialist (dermatologist).

For cancer that’s in earlier stages, your healthcare provider may recommend one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Medicated creams: Your healthcare provider may recommend a cream that you regularly apply to your penis. Common medicines include fluorouracil and imiquimod.
  • Circumcision: If the cancer is only on your foreskin, your healthcare provider may remove the tissue.
  • Laser ablation: This procedure uses lasers that create extreme heat to destroy the tumor.
  • Cryotherapy: This procedure uses extreme cold to destroy the tumor.
  • Mohs surgery: During this procedure, your healthcare provider removes cancerous skin layer by layer until arriving at the healthy tissue underneath.
  • Excision: Your healthcare provider may cut the cancer cells or tumor from your penis.
  • Radiation therapy: Your healthcare provider may use energy beams, like X-rays, to destroy cancer cells or shrink a tumor before surgery.

For cancer that’s more advanced, your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Penectomy: A partial penectomy removes part of your penis. A total penectomy removes your entire penis. For a total penectomy, your healthcare provider will create an opening in your abdomen or the skin between your anus and scrotum (perineum) so you can pee.
  • Lymphadenectomy: Your healthcare provider may remove your lymph nodes (most commonly in your groin area) if the cancer’s spread there.

Your healthcare provider may use radiation, chemotherapy or both to shrink cancer cells before performing surgery.

Prevention

How can I reduce my risk of penile cancer?

To reduce your risk of penile cancer, consider the following:

  • Weigh the benefits of circumcision. Circumcising an infant reduces their risk of penile cancer as an adult. Research suggests less benefit if circumcision takes place after a person has become sexually active. It’s important to weigh the medical benefits of circumcision against other deciding factors, like religious beliefs and cultural and individual preferences. Talk through the benefits with your healthcare provider as you consider the best options for yourself or your newborn.
  • Get treated for phimosis. Phimosis in uncircumcised adults has many potential causes, ranging from infections to poor hygiene. Identifying the cause and receiving prompt treatment can reduce your risk of penile cancer.
  • Get the HPV vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines for preventing high-risk HPV: Gardasil, Gardasil-9 and Cervarix. Ideally, you should get vaccinated between ages 9 and 26 or before you become sexually active. If you’re older than 26, speak to your healthcare provider about the potential benefits of vaccination.
  • Practice safer sex. Condoms and dental dams can’t fully protect you from HPV infection. Still, using them consistently and correctly and limiting your number of sexual partners can reduce your risk of HPV infection.
  • Don’t use tobacco products. Choosing not to smoke, dip, etc., reduces your risk of penile cancer and many other types of cancer.
  • Practice good hygiene. Good hygiene is an important part of having a healthy penis. Cleaning your penis regularly with mild soap and warm water can wash away germs that can cause inflammation or infection. If you’re uncircumcised, pull back your foreskin and clean the head of your penis to prevent smegma build-up.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have penile cancer?

Your chance of recovery and care plan depend on the following:

  • The stage of cancer.
  • The location and size of the tumor.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

Catching cancer early means that it’s easier to treat and cure. Catching it later means there’s a greater chance that it’s spread beyond your penis. At this point, penile cancer becomes much harder to treat.

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