The UW Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program (UWPGCP) and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, employ a comprehensive approach to the treatment of penile cancer.
The urologic oncology physicians at University of Wisconsin have undergone additional training to treat urologic malignancies.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
Penile cancer is a rare condition affecting about 1,500 men each year in the United States. Unfortunately, many men are reluctant to discuss these problems with their physician, and treatment is delayed.
The cancer usually begins on the glans (head) of the penis and may spread from there. When cancer is detected in early stages there are more treatment options available and treatments are more effective.
Recognizing Penile Cancer
Although many lesions of the penis are not cancerous, any abnormality should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible. Most commonly penile cancer looks like a warty lesion with associated rash or an open sore that won't heal.
In all cases, UW Health urologic oncologists attempt to preserve urinary and sexual function while providing curative therapy for penile cancer. In small tumors, there are more options for treatment, which highlights the importance of early detection. After biopsy, your physician will discuss the options which are appropriate for you.
- Chemotherapy (including a cream containing chemotherapy drug fluorouracil, in some cases)
- Inguinal lymph node dissection
- Laser ablation treatment: Laser therapy may be an option in small superficial tumors. Under anesthesia, a surgeon will use a laser beam to destroy the tumor. This option works best in early small tumors.
- Penile sparing surgery
- In many penile cancer cases, removal of the tumor (partial penectomy) is recommended as primary therapy. Surgeons will try to spare as much normal penile tissue as possible to retain normal urinary and sexual function after surgery. Recent research has been encouraging, demonstrating that less extensive surgery (preserving normal function) is often as successful as more invasive surgery for low stage penile cancers.
- In advanced cases of penile cancer, more extensive surgical options with reconstructive surgery give patients the longest survival. If your physician determines that you require more extensive surgery, consultation with a plastic surgeon may also be recommended. With early detection, advanced penile cancer is rare.
- Radiation therapy