What are the symptoms of penile cancer?

The most common symptom of penile cancer is a change in the penis skin. This change often forms on the tip of the penis or the foreskin (in uncircumcised men). However, sometimes skin changes may occur on the shaft. These skin changes typically do not hurt, but may sometimes cause pain. Skin changes can include:

  • Changes in color
  • A lump
  • A sore that may bleed
  • Thickening of the skin in one area
  • Flat, brown growths
  • A rash or bleeding under the foreskin
  • Smelly discharge
  • Small bumps

Other symptoms of penile cancer include:

  • Swelling at the end of the penis
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

How is penile cancer diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects you have penile cancer, he or she may conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history.

Your physicians may also order a biopsy. During this procedure, a healthcare provider will remove part of the tissue from a lump (incisional biopsy) or the entire lump (excisional biopsy). The healthcare provider will then send the tissue to a pathologist, who will examine the tissue under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells. The biopsy will also help us pinpoint the exact type of tumor, so we can work with you to develop the most effective treatment plan.

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