Penile cancer

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Treatments for stage 4 penile cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 4 penile cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Some stage 4 penile cancers have spread to nearby tissues, some have spread extensively through the lymph nodes and others have spread to distant parts of the body (called metastatic cancer).

Treatment will depend on where the cancer has spread and is often given to keep the cancer from growing or spreading and to treat or prevent symptoms (called palliative therapy).

Treatment may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

Drug therapy

Chemotherapy may be used to treat stage 4 penile cancer. Chemotherapy may be given:

  • at the same time as radiation therapy (called chemoradiation)
  • to relieve the symptoms of advanced disease and improve quality of life

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to treat stage 4 penile cancer. The type of radiation therapy is external beam radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be given:

  • to the penis
  • to the groin area to treat lymph nodes
  • at the same time as chemotherapy (called chemoradiation)
  • to relieve the symptoms of advanced disease and improve quality of life

Surgery

Surgery may be used to treat stage 4 penile cancer. The types of surgery used will depend on whether or not the penile cancer has spread to distant parts of the body and whether the cancer responds to other therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy or both. Surgery is given to relieve the symptoms of advanced disease.

Types of surgery that may be used include:

Total penectomy is surgery that removes all of the penis.

Lymph node dissection may be used to remove lymph nodes that have cancer.

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.

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