Penile cancer

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Treatment of stage III penile cancer

The following are treatment options for stage III penile cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for stage III penile cancer. The types of surgery are:

  • partial or total penectomy
  • removal of lymph nodes
    • Lymph nodes in the groin may be removed at the same time as a penectomy if they are known to contain cancer.
    • Surgery to remove the lymph nodes may be followed by radiation therapy.
  • scrotectomy (removal of the scrotum) or orchiectomy (removal of the testicles)
    • The scrotum, testicles or both may need to be removed if the cancer has spread to these structures.
    • This is only done in very advanced cases of penile cancer.
  • pelvic exenteration
    • This surgery may be done if cancer has spread to the bladder.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be offered for stage III penile cancer. The type of radiation therapy is external beam radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may be given:

  • instead of surgery
  • after surgery (adjuvant radiation therapy)
  • with chemotherapy (chemoradiation)

Chemotherapy

The role of chemotherapy in treating penile cancer is still evolving. It may be offered for stage III penile cancer. Chemotherapy may be given, with or without radiation therapy, either:

  • before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiation)
  • after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiation)

Clinical trials

Men with penile cancer may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.

adjuvant therapy

Treatment given in addition to the first-line therapy (the first or standard treatment) to help reduce the risk of a disease (such as cancer) coming back (recurring).

Adjuvant therapy is often given when doctors do not know for sure if any cancer cells remain in the body after the first-line therapy.

neoadjuvant therapy

Treatment given to shrink a tumour before the first-line therapy (the first or standard treatment), which is usually surgery.

Neoadjuvant therapy may be given if a tumour is too large to be removed by surgery. It may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy.

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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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