Penis cancer

Penis cancer

Cancer is abnormal cell growth in the skin or organ tissue. When this cell growth starts in the penis, it is called penis cancer or penile cancer.

Penis cancer is rare and affects less than 1% of men in Europe. It is more common in men older than age 40, but younger men can get it. Most penis cancer patients are 60–70 years old.

Fig. 1. Anatomy of the penis.
Fig. 1: Anatomy of the penis


Sometimes penis cancer comes back after treatment is complete. This is called recurrence. Your doctor will check for recurrence during your follow-up visits. Regular self-examination will also help catch recurrence early.

Treatment is based on your previous type of treatment and the location of the new cancer:

  • On the penis: surgery to remove cancer cells, possibly followed by radiation therapy
  • In the lymph nodes: surgery to remove the lymph nodes and/or radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • In other tissues or organs: chemotherapy or radiation therapy to shrink tumours

This information was produced by the European Association of Urology (EAU) Patient Information Working Group, March 2017.

  • Dr. S.R. Ottenhof, Amsterdam (NL)
  • Dr. A. Parnham, London (UK)