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Penile Cancer

A rare cancer that forms in the penis (an external male reproductive organ). Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the penis.

The penis is a rod-shaped male reproductive organ that passes sperm and urine from the body. It contains two types of erectile tissue (spongy tissue with blood vessels that fill with blood to make an erection):

  • Corpora cavernosa: The two columns of erectile tissue that form most of the penis.
  • Corpus spongiosum: The single column of erectile tissue that forms a small portion of the penis. The corpus spongiosum surrounds the urethra (the tube through which urine and sperm pass from the body)...

Read more about Penile Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Dynamic sentinel node biopsy for inguinal lymph node staging in patients with penile cancer: a systematic review and cumulative analysis of the literature

BACKGROUND: Dynamic sentinel node biopsy (DSNB) is used to evaluate the nodal status of patients with clinically node-negative penile carcinoma. Its use is not widespread, and the majority of patients with clinically node-negative disease undergo an elective inguinal lymph node dissection (ILND). However, a prophylactic bilateral ILND is a procedure with approximately 50% of morbidity. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the accuracy of DSNB in penile cancer.

Accuracy of 18F-FDG PET/CT for diagnosing inguinal lymph node involvement in penile squamous cell carcinoma: systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature

PURPOSE: Metastatic involvement of the inguinal lymph nodes is associated with decreased survival and is a strong prognostic factor in penile squamous cell carcinoma. The aim of the current systematic review was to evaluate the accuracy of (18)F-FDG PET/CT for inguinal lymph node staging in penile squamous cell carcinoma and possible influential factors.

Accuracy of sentinel lymph node biopsy for inguinal lymph node staging of penile squamous cell carcinoma: systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature

This review found that sentinel lymph node mapping in penile squamous cell carcinoma was associated with high sensitivity and detection rates. The lack of information on included studies means the results should be interpreted with caution and the authors' conclusions may not be reliable.

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Summaries for consumers

Penile Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Penile cancer is highly curable when found early. Find out about risk factors, symptoms, tests to diagnose, prognosis, staging, and treatment for penile cancer.

Cancer-Related Post-traumatic Stress (PDQ®): Patient Version

Shock, fear, helplessness, or horror can be felt by cancer patients at any time and lead to cancer-related post-traumatic stress. Learn about the causes and ways doctors can help manage these symptoms of distress in this expert-reviewed summary.

Lymphedema (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of lymphedema, a condition in which lymph fluid builds up in tissues and causes swelling.

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Terms to know

Penis
An external male reproductive organ. It contains a tube called the urethra, which carries semen and urine to the outside of the body.
Sperm
The male reproductive cell, formed in the testicle. A sperm unites with an egg to form an embryo.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Cancer that begins in squamous cells. Squamous cells are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales, and are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts.
Urethra
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Urine
Liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body by the act of urinating.

More about Penile Cancer

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Malignant tumour of the penis, Malignant penile tumour, Cancer of the penis, Malignant tumor of the penis, Malignant penile neoplasm, Malignant neoplasm of the penis, Malignant penile tumor

Other terms to know: See all 5
Penis, Sperm, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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