Survival statistics for penile cancer

Survival statistics for penile cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for penile cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for penile cancer is 65%. This means that about 65% of men diagnosed with penile cancer will survive least 5 years.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of penile cancer.

  • Generally, the earlier penile cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
  • Early stage penile cancer tends to respond very well to treatment.
  • The number of lymph nodes and the group of lymph nodes the cancer has spread to also play a role in predicting survival. Men who have cancer in only one lymph node in the groin (inguinal lymph node) have a better chance of survival than men who have cancer in more than one inguinal lymph node or men who have cancer in a different group of lymph nodes.
  • There are many effective treatments available for penile cancer.
  • Advanced penile cancer can be difficult to cure, but it responds well to some treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both.

Survival by stage of penile cancer is reported as 5-year relative survival. Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of penile cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.

Penile cancer survival

Location of tumour

5-year relative survival

Penile cancer is confined to the penis (stages 0 to 2).


Penile cancer has spread to lymph nodes but not distant areas (stage 3).


Penile cancer has spread to distant areas in the body (stage 4).


Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Expert review and references