Penile cancer treatment is prescribed and administered by health care professionals or oncologists only. Sometimes a team of specialists work together to decide the treatment: Some specialize in surgery, other in radiotherapy or chemotherapy. They talk with the patients and determine all possible beneficial aspects to choose the most appropriate treatment plan.
Regardless of the penile cancer treatment plan designed by the oncologist, it should meet the unique needs of the patient suffering with the disease. But in general, decisions regarding the treatment are based on the stage of the cancer, the location of the cancer (the glans or shaft of the penis), and the patient’s condition.
Generally, penile cancer treatment includes: Chemotherapy – the use of powerful anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells; Radiation – using high powered x-rays to kill cancer cells; and surgery, removal of cancer tissue.
Penile Cancer Surgery– In case the diagnosed is done early and the tumor is small and near the tipof the penis, the surgery may be done to remove only the cancerous part of the penis, partialpenectomy, thus leaving enough of the penis to allow normal urination.
For more severe tumors, total removal of the penis, total penectomy, is often required. This will require the creation of a new permanent opening in the groin area (urethra) to remove obstructions to urine flow, thus allowing urination. This procedure is called urethrostomy, and it is performed aftertotal penectomy in serious cases of penile cancer.
Penile Cancer Chemotherapy– this is a systematic therapy which affects the entire body. Chemotherapy may be used along with the surgery to kill cancer cells remaining after the surgical procedure. Common chemo drugs used in penile cancer treatment include Blenoxane (bleomycin),Cisplatin(cisplatinum, platamin, neoplatin, cismaplat), and Methotrexate(Rheumatrex, Trexall), alone or in combination.
Radiation Therapy – radiotherapy is often recommended, in combination with surgery, in penile cancer treatment. The type of radiotherapy commonly used is called external beam radiation therapy.This method delivers radiation to the penis from outside the body; it is ideal for men who want to preserve their penis. External beam radiation therapy is usually performed 5 days a week, for 6-8weeks.
Penile Cancer Prevention
There is no accurate standard penile cancer prevention as of today. However, good personal hygieneand safe sexual practices, such as abstinence, practicing monogamy (limiting the number of sexual partner to one) and using condoms to prevent STDs (including HPV infection), may decrease the risk of developing penile cancer.
Weakened immune system associated with lack of hygiene can greatly increase the risk for a man to have penile cancer in his lifetime. People who do not wash have bacterial overgrowth, which can lead to inflammation involved in the development of this cancer.
Circumcision would be helpful in this situation, although there is no evidence of its usefulness in preventing penile cancer when performed in adulthood. Men who are not circumcised need to learn at an early age the importance and practice of cleaning beneath the foreskin as part of their personal hygiene.