Penile cancer starts in or on the penis. Not all growths on the penis are cancerous, however (some growths are benign). It’s important to note that cancer of the penis is rare in North America. In fact, the American Cancer Society reports that penile cancer accounts for fewer than 1% of cancers in men in the United States.
About 95% of penile cancers start in flat skin cells called squamous cells. Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is the earliest stage of squamous cell cancer of the penis. Rare/uncommon forms of squamous cell cancer also exist, such as verrucous carcinoma (also called a Buschke-Lowenstein tumor). Other rare forms of penile cancers include skin cancers (such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma), sarcoma, and adenocarcinoma (Paget disease of the penis).
Signs and symptoms of penile cancer, such as skin changes and swelling, can often indicate a condition other than cancer. This is why it's essential to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. (Avoid trying to self-diagnose via Google! You'll cause yourself unnecessary stress.)
Our board-certified urologists can examine you, evaluate your symptoms, and order up any necessary tests to accurately diagnose your condition. If you receive a penile cancer diagnosis, your doctor will provide a thorough review of your treatment options, answer all your questions, and be with you every step of the way. You are not alone. Let us help.