What is penis cancer?

Penis cancer is uncommon, and the chance of developing penis cancer is about one in 1000. There are a variety of different things that can cause penis lumps, and most are harmless.

Most penis cancers develop from skin cells in the penis, usually in the foreskin, although they can happen elsewhere in the penis. Most of these cancers grow very slowly and can be cured if found early.

If you’re worried about any lumps on your penis, the best thing to do is to see your doctor straight away.

Penis_Diagram
What causes penis cancer?

We often don’t know why a penis cancer develops, but risk factors include:

  • Long-lasting infection of HPV (human papillomavirus)

  • Phimosis (where the foreskin is too tight and cannot be pulled back)

  • Balanitis (an inflammation of the head of the penis)

  • Smoking.

However, only a small number of people with any of these risk factors will develop penis cancer.

What treatments are there?

There are several treatments for penis cancer.

The main treatment is surgery. Other treatments include laser treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These can be given after surgery or instead of surgery.

Which type of treatment you should have depends on the type and stage of the cancer, your overall health, and your preferences about treatment types and side effects.

Resources

Penis Problems Fact Sheet Tile Image

Fact sheet

Penis problems fact sheet