Penile Cancer

About the condition

Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs on the skin of the penis or within the penis. In the UK, around 550 men are diagnosed with cancer of the penis each year. It most commonly affects men over 60 years of age. The cause of penile cancer isn’t known, but certain risk factors can increase the chances of getting it including smoking, repeated bacterial and viral infections, and being over the age of 60. You can find out more about the risk factors here.

There is little evidence to suggest that being circumcised as an adult will reduce your chances of developing penile cancer.


The signs of penile cancer include:

  • a growth or sore on the penis that doesn’t heal within four weeks
  • bleeding from the penis or from under the foreskin
  • a foul smelling discharge
  • thickening of the skin of the penis or foreskin that makes it difficult to draw back the foreskin (phimosis)
  • a change in the colour of the skin of the penis or foreskin
  • a rash on the penis

Some men find it embarrassing to talk about these sorts of symptoms, but if any of the above apply to you, or if you have any concerns about similar symptoms, it is essential that you see your doctor. Alternatively you can book an appointment with one of our specialists by completing this form online or by calling 020 8247 3351.


If your GP suspects penile cancer, they may refer you to an Urologist, who will ask about your symptoms and check for any physical signs of penile cancer. Blood tests may be carried out to check your general health and the number of blood cells. You may need to have a biopsy. A small tissue sample will be removed so it can be examined under a microscope for cancerous cells.


Treatment for penile cancer will depend on the size of the affected area and the rate at which the cancer has spread.

The main treatments for developed penile cancer are:

  • Radiotherapy, which is where high-energy rays are used to destroy the cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy, which involves the use of chemical agents which are toxic to cancer cells, destroying them and preventing them from spreading to different areas. This can be given by injection or in tablet form
  • Surgery, which will involve removing the cancerous cells and possibly some of the surrounding tissue

Support Services

At CCL we provide support that caters to both the physical and emotional needs of the patient, before, during and after treatment.

We offer a wide range of services for patients, as well as their loved ones, designed to make a very difficult time as easy as possible, and to give our patients the best treatment and support possible. Our support services include counselling, group sessions and much more. You can find the full range of our support services here. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Book now

If you have any questions about penile cancer or would like to book an appointment with one of our penile cancer specialists, complete this form online or call 020 8247 3351.

Penile Cancer Consultants


Cancer Centre London

Parkside Hospital

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