Symptoms of penile cancer
Penile cancer often causes symptoms at an early stage. Most often the first sign of penile cancer is a change in the skin of the penis. This can happen on the head (glans) of the penis or on the foreskin (in uncircumcised men). It can also occur on the shaft. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as penile cancer.
See your doctor if you have these signs or symptoms:
- any growth or sore on the penis
- any change in the colour of the penis – the foreskin may have to be pulled back to see the discoloured area
- a lump or thickening of the skin on the penis
- redness or irritation of the penis
- reddish or velvety rash
- small crusty bumps
- flat, bluish-brown growths
- foul-smelling discharge or bleeding from the penis or from underneath the foreskin
- swelling at the end of the penis
- a lump in the groin
- unexplained pain in the shaft or tip of the penis
- an area or sore that itches or burns
Expert review and references
American Cancer Society. Penile Cancer. 2015: http://www.cancer.org/.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Penile Cancer. 2014: http://www.cancer.net/.
BC Cancer Agency. Penis. BC Cancer Agency; 2015: http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/.
Chaux A & Cubilla AL . Diagnosis, epidemiology and pathology or penile cancer. Scardino PT, Lineham WM, Zelefsky MJ & Vogelzang NJ (eds.). Comprehensive Textbook of Genitourinary Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 46: pp. 803-810.
National Cancer Institute. Penile CancerTreatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2011.
National Cancer Institute. Penile Cancer Treatment (PDQ®). 2016: http://www.cancer.gov/.
Penn Medicine. All about penile cancer. University of Pennsylvania; 2016: https://www.oncolink.org/cancers/penile-cancer/all-about-penile-cancer.
Russo P & Horenblas S . Surgical management of penile cancer. Scardino PT, Lineham WM, Zelefsky MJ & Vogelzang NJ (eds.). Comprehensive Textbook of Genitourinary Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 47: pp. 810-822.
Trabulsi EJ, Gomell LG . Cancer of the urethra and penis. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 69:981-987.