If a man has symptoms that suggest a possible penile cancer diagnosis, his physician can perform several tests to determine the underlying cause. Usually, the initial tests will focus on ruling out more common conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections. Only if these test results come back negative will physicians check to see if cancer is present.
The most common tests a physician might recommend to confirm or rule out a penile cancer diagnosis include:
A fine needle aspiration biopsy, in which two or three tissue samples are taken directly from a tumor and tested for cancer
A sentinel lymph node biopsy, in which the sentinel lymph node (the first node into which the lymph from the tumor drains) is removed and tested for cancer
An inguinal (groin) lymph node dissection, in which multiple lymph nodes are removed from the groin and tested for cancer
An X-ray, in which a simple image is taken of the penis and assessed for signs of cancer
A computed tomography (CT) scan, in which a CT machine creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body, highlighting any abnormalities that might be present
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in which magnetic fields and contrast dyes are used to detect tumors and evaluate their size
Several different medical professionals will usually assist in making a penile cancer diagnosis. For instance, pathologists evaluate the tissue samples obtained during a biopsy, imaging technologists operate the equipment used to obtain radiographic images and radiologists interpret the results of the imaging scans.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty team takes a collaborative approach to diagnosing and treating penile cancer. Patients work with a number of skilled experts – from imaging and pathology professionals to oncologists who specialize in the treatment of genitourinary cancers – in a single, convenient location. Our treatment plans are completely individualized to each patient’s specific needs, and no referrals are required to access our services.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of penile cancer and would like to discuss a possible diagnosis with our team, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.