Penile Cancer Screening

Many men ask their physicians about penile cancer screening, or tests than could identify potentially cancerous changes even if no symptoms are present. Currently, there are not yet any effective screenings available for penile cancer. Therefore, healthy men – as well as men who have an elevated risk of developing penile cancer – should pay close attention to their bodies and report any unusual changes to a physician. If a man’s symptoms suggest that penile cancer might be present, further testing can then be performed. 

In the absence of a penile cancer screening test, men should watch for any of the following warning signs that testing may be necessary:

  • Changes in the color, thickness or texture of the skin on the penis

  • Blisters, sores, lumps or rashes

  • Flat bumps that are bluish-brown in color

  • Bleeding ulcers or bumps

  • Fluid or discharge under the foreskin

  • Swelling at the tip of the penis

  • Unexplained pain

The most important thing that a man can do if he notices one or more of these abnormalities is to discuss them promptly with a physician. Some men delay discussing their symptoms with a physician until they have been present for a year or more due to fear of unnecessary embarrassment. However, when penile cancer is diagnosed in its earlier stages, a patient generally has more treatment options than he would have if he waits to tell his doctor about his symptoms until several months down the road. Until a penile cancer screening method can be developed, personal knowledge and quick action are the best ways for a man to be proactive about his health. 

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our oncologists can assess any unusual penile changes, and if the changes cannot be attributed to a less serious cause, recommend any diagnostic testing that might be appropriate. All of our biopsies and labwork are processed on-site, enabling us to provide prompt and accurate reporting of results. This also helps us to accelerate the treatment process in the unlikely event that penile cancer is the cause of a man’s symptoms.

Referrals are not required to obtain diagnostic or treatment services at Moffitt. To request additional information about penile cancer screening and diagnosis, call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online.