​Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is the cancer of the penis, the male-reproductive organ. This cancer causes an uncontrolled and malignant growth of penis tissues that lead to visible changes in the penis skin, growth of lumps and swelling in the penile region.

Penile cancer is more common among middle-aged men. Factors such as heavy smoking, a weak immune system and uncircumcised foreskin are known to increase the chances of developing this form of cancer.​​

Symptoms for penile cancer may include overgrowth on the penis (genitals) area, soreness of the penis, skin disfigurement and swelling. There may also be discharge or bleeding.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see your doctor or consult the physicians at the Kidney and Bladder Service Line at the Aga Khan University Hospital.  The symptoms of penile cancer may resemble those of other skin diseases. It is therefore important that an accurate diagnosis is performed for proper treatment.​ For expert analysis, you can also consult doctors workign with the Oncology Service Line.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

Penile cancer can occur in multiple stages. These stages are usually divided into four different categories, with each category differing in the severity and spread of the disease. Tests for penile cancer aim not only to determine its presence but also the respective stage as well. 

The testing process usually begins with a review of your medical history and then physical exam and a biopsy. The physical exam includes an examination of the penis for any of the above symptoms. The biopsy removes tissues and sends them for analysis to detect any signs of cancer.

To determine the staging process, a series of different imaging tests might be conducted. An ultrasound might be used to extract images of penal tissues, a chest x-ray might be done to determine the spread of the disease and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test might be performed to identify specific symptoms of the disease. Finally, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan might be performed to get a series of detailed images from different angles. 

There are multiple treatment options available for penile cancer.

One of the most widely known options is chemotherapy. It involves stopping the growth of cancerous cells via drugs. The drug is administered in different ways depending on the stage of cancer being dealt with. Oral intake or direct injection in the vein leads to the drug spreading throughout the body. Administering the drug to a specific location treats cancerous growth in that particular area. The former procedure is called systemic chemotherapy, whereas the latter is known as regional chemotherapy.

Another form of therapy makes use of high energy X-rays and radiation to kill cancer cells. If the radiation is targeted on the body from an external machine, the process is called external radiation therapy. Alternatively, internal radiation therapy can also be used by implanting radioactive needles or catheters in the affected region.

Penile cancer can also be treated surgically to physically remove the overgrowth.  Cryosurgery is one such procedure where the affected tissue is destructed by the process of freezing. Another procedure makes use of lasers to make incisions in the penile area to remove the tumour. Mohs microsurgery is a process where the tumour is cut down in successive layers until no more cancerous layers exist. 

In extreme cases a partial or total penectomy may need to be performed for removing part or the entirety of the penis.

In certain cases, your doctor may suggest chemotherapy or radiation treatment even after the removal of the cancer. This treatment is necessary if your doctor feels there is a possibility of cancer revival.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.