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Penile Cancer Prevention and Screening

Penile Cancer Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.

Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests other than examining the penis have been shown to find penile cancer early. If you have a foreskin, examine the area underneath it regularly. Be sure to keep the area clean. Penile cancer can start as a reddened or scaly area or a sore on the penis. Report any changes to your doctor.

Penile Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting penile cancer is a risk factor. These include:

  • Age: Most cases are seen in men 50 to 70 years old. About a third are in men under 50
  • Tobacco use: Read more about MD Anderson’s smoking cessation clinical trials
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): This sexually transmitted disease has more than a dozen subtypes. HPV 16 and HPV 18 are linked most often to penile cancer.
  • Lack of circumcision at birth
  • Phimosis: A condition that makes it difficult to pull back the foreskin. This can lead to the buildup of body oils, bacteria and other debris known as smegma
  • UV light treatment of psoriasis
  • AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)

Not everyone with risk factors gets penile cancer. However, if you have risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with penile cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Minimally invasive penile cancer treatments include laser therapy, Mohs surgery and radiation therapy
  • Highly skilled surgeons and advanced techniques
  • One of most active and experienced penile cancer programs in the nation
  • Clinical trials of investigative therapies for penile cancer

Penile Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Penile cancer is treated in our:

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Penile Cancer Prevention

Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Visit the Prevention section of our website to find out steps you can take to avoid cancer.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center