Why choose us for penile cancer care?
At Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, you receive care from a team of experts who excel in treating genitourinary (GU) cancers, such as penile cancer.
Our GU specialists include surgeons who have been nationally recognized for their skill in treating advanced GU cancers of the urinary and reproductive systems. In some cases, we work closely with dermatologists to remove cancer precisely.
Read about other GU cancers we treat in our genitourinary cancer program.
What you need to know about penile cancer
- Penile cancer is a rare cancer that most commonly develops from skin cells along the head (glans) of the penis. It usually affects men later in life, between the ages of 50 and 70.
- Having an uncircumcised penis (with the skin surrounding the penis head intact) increases your chances of developing penile cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and smoking also increase your risk.
- Our team-based approach to cancer care ensures you receive expert guidance from doctors with different areas of cancer expertise. Depending on the specifics of your case, your care team may include cancer surgeons, medical oncologists or radiation oncologists — each with a high level of experience treating penile and other GU cancers. These doctors will meet regularly to discuss your care and work together to determine the right treatment plan for you.
- Our surgeons’ skills in performing intricate penile cancer surgeries help us remove cancer with less impact to your body’s urinary and sexual functions.
How to talk to your doctor about penile cancer
It’s natural to feel uneasy about bringing up uncomfortable symptoms with your doctor. You should know that many common signs of penile cancer are similar to routine health problems, like a bacterial or fungal infection. These common issues can be easily treated.
If you do have penile cancer, you can trust our specialists to explain all your options and use innovative therapies in your care.
Many patients choose to bring a family member, partner or close friend to doctor appointments. Of course, you are also welcome to come to appointments alone, should that help you feel more comfortable. Our team is here to support you.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Further testing you may need to pinpoint your diagnosis or guide treatment recommendations
- Cancer stage, including the size of a penile tumor and cancer type (including what that means for the treatments that are most likely to be effective for you)
- Treatment options, including any clinical trials for which you may be eligible
- Side effects of treatment, including how treatment may affect fertility and whether certain options may help you preserve natural function
- Support to help you enjoy your life after cancer treatment
Cancer can develop from different types of cells in the skin or other tissue of the penis. Our doctors treat all types of penile cancer, including:
- Squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that often grows slowly, makes up most cases of penile cancer.
- Melanoma is a less common form of skin cancer that is more likely to spread.
- Sarcoma is a rare type of penile cancer that develops from connective tissue (like muscle or fat cells) or blood vessels.