Treatment for penile cancer

Treatment for penile cancer

Penile cancer may be more treatable if it's found early.

The treatment you need will depend on:

Treatment for early cancer often involves non-surgical treatments, for example, a chemotherapy cream, such as 5 fluorouracil (5FU), and laser therapy.

If the cancer is found later, treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


Surgery for penile cancer can include removing:

Surgery may affect how your penis looks, such as the size or shape.

This may affect how you feel about your body. You may have many questions and worries about how you'll pee or have sex.

The specialist team looking after you can answer any questions you have about your surgery.

They'll explain exactly what surgery means for you, how it will affect you and what your options are.

Reconstructive surgery may be possible if your penis needs to be removed. This uses skin and muscle from other parts of the body to create a working penis.


If caught early, penile cancer can sometimes be treated with creams you apply to the skin of your penis or foreskin.

You may be treated with a cream if your penile cancer has been caught early, and the cancer affects your foreskin or the end of your penis.

You may be treated with:

Laser treatment

Laser treatment uses a strong beam of light, directed at the affected area, to kill cancer cells.

You may have laser treatment for penile cancer if the affected area is small or the cancer is at an early stage.


Cryotherapy uses freezing to kill cancer cells. A small device is placed on the affected area to freeze the cancer.

You may have cryotherapy if you have very early stage penile cancer, or the cancer is unlikely to have spread to other parts of your body.


Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancer cells.

You may have chemotherapy for penile cancer:


Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays of radiation to kill cancer cells.

You may have radiotherapy for penile cancer:

What happens if you're told your cancer cannot be cured

If you've been diagnosed with advanced penile cancer, it may be hard to treat and not possible to cure.

The aim of treatment will be to slow down the growth and spread of the cancer, to help with the symptoms, and help you live longer.

Finding out cancer cannot be cured can be very hard news to take in.

You'll be referred to a team of doctors and nurses called a symptom control team or palliative care team.

They will help you to manage your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable.

The palliative care team can also help you and your loved ones get any other support you need.


Find out more

Page last reviewed: 9 April 2024
Next review due: 9 April 2027