Treatment for Penile Cancer

At Fox Chase Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary medical team works closely to accurately diagnose your penile cancer and help you understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

As a regional and national leader in cancer care, Fox Chase has a wealth of experience treating all types of penile cancer.

Our skilled genitourinary oncology cancer team meets regularly to review patient cases and map out a personalized treatment plan. We strive to treat your cancer in the least invasive way possible using innovative surgical techniques and combination therapies that give you the best chance of a successful outcome.

Our doctors are also actively involved in developing new therapies for treating cancer. Through clinical trials, we are able to offer our patients access to promising treatments and experimental therapies that may not be available elsewhere. Ask your Fox Chase doctor if a clinical trial is right for you.

Your Treatment Options

Treatment for penile cancer depends on the stage, type, and grade of your tumor; whether it has invaded the surrounding tissue; and your age, health history, and personal goals. Your personalized treatment plan will be created after consultations with multiple physicians within our multidisciplinary team and may include a combination of one or more of the following treatment options.


Surgery is the most common, and elective, treatment for penile cancer. The cancer is removed from the penis using one of the following methods:

  • Laser surgery, which uses a narrow beam of light to kill the cancer cells.
  • Microsurgery to remove the penile cancer and as little normal tissue as possible. During this surgery, the doctor uses a microscope to look at the cancerous area to make sure all the cancer cells are removed.
  • Circumcision to remove the foreskin if the penile tumor is confined to this area.
  • Wide local excision, which removes only the penile cancer and some normal tissue on either side.
  • Penectomy to remove part or the entire penis. In a partial penectomy, the surgeon removes a portion of the penis without altering normal urinary function. In a total penectomy, the majority of the penis is removed. This then requires diversion of the urinary stream by creating a perineal urethrostomy so the bladder can be emptied without the need for a tube to drain it. Additionally, lymph nodes in the groin may be removed in an attempt to stage and cure the patient of the disease.

Urologic surgeons at Fox Chase Cancer Center are regional and national leaders in performing complex surgeries for patients with penile cancer.

Radiation Therapy

The radiation oncologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center specialize in treating penile cancer using the latest radiation therapies. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells and may be given in combination with chemotherapy if you are unable to tolerate surgery.

  • External beam radiation therapy delivers the radiation from a machine outside the body.
  • 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy, or 3D-CRT, a type of external beam radiation therapy developed at Fox Chase to precisely target tumors and avoid healthy tissue, may offer a better outcome for some patients with penile cancer. Learn more about this innovative radiation therapy.

Systemic Therapy

The medical oncologists at Fox Chase are regional and national leaders in the treatment of penile cancer. As part of the multidisciplinary team, your medical oncologist will help to determine your personalized treatment plan, which may include systemic therapies, such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy, either as standard of care or as part of a clinical trial.

Systemic therapy may be given before or after surgery to patients with invasive or locally advanced penile cancer. It may also be recommended to patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).

Clinical Trials

Fox Chase Cancer Center actively participates in a number of clinical trials for patients with head and neck cancer. In addition to receiving excellent care, our patients also benefit from the groundbreaking research that we do to expand our understanding of new thyroid cancer therapies and treatments. We encourage eligible patients to participate in clinical trials that are available and appropriate for their stage and type of penile cancer.