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This section offers general information. Your specific treatment will be recommended by your doctor based on your individual needs. Individual recommendations may depend on your country and health care system.

The treatment you have will depend on:

  • what you prefer
  • what your doctor thinks is best for your type of cancer
  • which treatments are available at your hospital

Penis cancer treatment involves removing the primary tumour and managing the lymph nodes and other tumours. The type of treatment depends on how deep the tumour has grown into the penis tissue. This is based on cancer stage, as discussed under Classification.

Treating carcinoma in situ

Various options exist to treat penis CIS. The goal is to keep the penis looking healthy and working normally:

  • Skin cream to put on the affected skin may include medicines to treat cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Laser therapy to remove affected skin
  • Cryotherapy to freeze and remove affected skin
  • Surgery called “glans resurfacing” to remove the top layers of skin from the head of the penis and resurface it with skin from another area of the body (skin graft)

Treating the penis tumour

Treatment of the penis tumour depends on the size of the tumour and the tissues the tumour has grown into. Penis tumours are mostly treated with surgery.

  • Circumcision (removing the foreskin) if penis cancer is only in the foreskin
  • Laser therapy
  • Glans resurfacing to remove the top layers of skin from the head of the penis and resurface it with a skin graft
  • Glansectomy
  • Removal of part of the penis where the tumour is growing (partial penectomy)
  • Removal of the whole penis (total penectomy)
  • Radiation therapy to the penis to help kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy to help shrink the tumour (usually only for T4 tumours that are too large to be removed with surgery)

If the whole penis is removed, a new opening must be created surgically to carry urine out of the body. This opening is usually placed on the perineum—the space between your scrotum and anus—between your legs.

Treating the lymph nodes

  • If the cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes, the lymph nodes will be treated with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Removal of affected lymph nodes in the groin or abdomen
  • Radiation therapy to help kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy to help kill cancer cells

Your doctor may also choose to give more than one treatment. For example, radiation before or after removal of the lymph nodes.

Treating distant metastases

When the cancer has spread to other tissues than lymph nodes in your body, you are very unlikely to be cured by therapy. The goal of treatment is to control or stop the cancer and relieve symptoms.

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
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