Penile Cancer

Urologists at the University of Chicago specialize in the latest surgical techniques to treat penile cancer. In combination with colleagues in medical oncology and the Cancer Research Center, we offer a comprehensive and diverse option of therapies.

Penile cancer is rare in the United States with an annual incidence of 1-2 per 100,000 men that translates into 1,400 cases per year. Onset is in the fourth and fifth decades of life.  The cause of penile cancer appears to be chronic irritation. Predisposing factors include the presence of foreskin (uncircumcised men), phimosis (tight opening of the foreskin) and poor hygiene. Phimosis is present in more than 50 percent of patients with penile cancer. Penile cancer begins as a small lesion and gradually enlarges to involve the entire penis. It may be flat and cause an ulcer. Alternatively, it may extend away from the penis with the appearance of cauliflower or broccoli.

Surgical treatment options for penile cancer vary by patient but may include partial or complete removal of the penis and/or removal of regional lymph nodes (inguinal or pelvic lymph node dissections).