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Penile Cancer

Treatment

Some of the treatment options for penile cancer are:

  • Surgery: Surgery is a common treatment option for penile cancer. The type and complexity of surgery depend upon the stage of the disease. Some of the surgical interventions for penile cancer are:
      Circumcision: This process involves the removal of the penile foreskin and some of the surrounding healthy tissues. This procedure is used when the cancer is limited to the foreskin of the penis.
      Simple excision: Simple excision removes the tumor and some of the nearby healthy tissues. If the tumor removed is small, both ends of the skin are stitched together. However, in the case of excisional surgery, which involves the removal of a large skin of the penis, the patients undergo graft surgery to cover the area of the removed skin.
      Mohs surgery: It is a step-by-step process that allows for less tissue damage without compromising the outcomes. In this procedure, the oncosurgeons remove a layer of skin and examine it under the microscope for cancer cells. If the layer has cancerous cells, another layer is removed and examined. The procedure continues until the surgeon detects the layer that does not have cancerous cells.
      Glansectomy: The tip of the penis is known as the glans. When cancer is present in the glans, the oncosurgeons remove all or some of the glans. Later, the patient undergoes graft surgery to reconstruct the glans.
      Penectomy: Penectomy involves the removal of some (partial penectomy) or the entire penis (total penectomy). It is the treatment of choice if cancer has spread deep inside the penis. Penectomy aims to remove all the cancerous tissues.
      Lymph node surgery: This treatment is used when cancer has spread or is suspected to be spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. In some cases, lymph node surgery is also used to detect if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may also be implemented for treating penile cancer. The type of radiation therapy depends upon the location and size of the lesions. For locally limited penile cancer, the patients may undergo interstitial brachytherapy, external beam radiation therapy, or surface mold brachytherapy. Radiation therapy and sentinel or inguinal node dissection may be used in advanced cancers. Further, the outcomes may be improved by adjuvant inguinal/pelvic radiation therapy. Radiation therapy may sometimes be combined with chemotherapy (chemoradiation therapy).
  • Local treatment: Several other treatment options for penile cancer are less invasive than surgery. Laser ablation involves using a laser beam that destroys the penile cancer cells. It is used in patients who are unable to undergo or refuse surgery. Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen that freezes and kills cancerous cells. In some cases, the patients may also undergo photodynamic therapy that involves administering certain drugs and laser therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is usually used with other treatment modalities, such as radiation therapy and surgery. Chemotherapeutic setting includes therapeutic, neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and palliative therapy. It involves the use of drugs that kill cancer cells. In penile cancer, the chemotherapy may be through injectable, oral, or topical routes.

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