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Penile Cancer Treatment

When treated in its early stages, penile cancer can be cured in nearly all patients. Surgery is the most common treatment, particularly for small superficial tumors. Effective approaches to treating squamous cell tumors include Mohs surgery, which enables the surgeon to minimize damage to healthy tissue by progressively removing as little tissue as possible for analysis thereby helping to maintain penile appearance and function. Cryosurgery - a method using liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy abnormal cells, and laser surgery - an approach which uses a beam of laser light to vaporize cancer cells, can also be used for squamous and basal cell skin cancer.

More invasive cancers may require extensive surgery, including removal of part of or the entire penis. Extensive surgery to remove the lymph nodes that are toward the penis is often necessary. This is one of the rare circumstances in which metastatic cancer can be cured by surgery alone.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be recommended as an alternative to surgery for treatment of penile cancer and may help avoid partial or complete removal of the penis. Radiation therapy may be used to target affected lymph nodes in the groin and pelvic area or used following surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer recurring.


Chemotherapy may be used topically, which means the medication is placed directly on the skin, or systemically, with drugs given by injection or mouth. Topical chemotherapy reaches cancer cells near the skin's surface, but does not reach those that have spread.