Penile cancer

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Treatments for stage 0 penile cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 0 penile cancer. Stage 0 penile carcinoma may also be called carcinoma in situ (CIS) or verrucous carcinoma. CIS on the head (glans) of the penis may be called erythroplasia of Queyrat. CIS on the shaft of the penis may be called Bowen’s disease. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Surgery is the main treatment for stage 0 penile cancer. It is often the only treatment needed for most early stage penile cancers.

Circumcision removes the foreskin of the penis. It may be used for penile cancer that is only on the foreskin.

Mohs surgery removes the cancer in layers, little by little, until no cancer remains.

Wide local excision removes the tumour along with a margin of normal tissue around it.

Laser surgery uses an intense, narrow beam of light (called a laser beam) to destroy cancer cells.

Cryosurgery uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy tissue.

Drug therapy

You may be offered topical therapy for stage 0 penile cancer. A cream or gel is applied directly to the abnormal area on the penis. The most common topical therapy drugs used are:

  • 5-fluorouracil (Efudex, 5-FU)
  • imiquimod (Aldara)

Clinical trials

Some clinical trials in Canada are open to men with penile cancer. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.


I want everyone to win their battles like we did. That’s why I’ve left a gift in my will to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Read Margaret's story

Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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