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An overview of the diagnoses and treatments for penile cancer

14 May 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 9


Penile cancer is a rare malignancy and, as a consequence, it is managed in just a few specialist centres across the UK. This article aims to provide health professionals with an introduction and update on the epidemiology and aetiology of penile cancer, as well as the techniques used to diagnose penile cancer and the current treatment options. The article highlgihts the importance of early diagnosis and the role that the clinical nurse specialist in plays supporting those diagnosed with the penile cancer and their families.

Penile cancer is a rare malignancy in the UK (Cancer Research UK (CRUK), 2018). When diagnosed early, the prognosis is excellent, but for those who present with nodal metastases, the prognosis dramatically worsens (Djajadiningrat et al, 2014). It predominantly occurs on the foreskin or glans penis, and surgery is the gold standard for treating this condition. Traditionally, penile cancer was managed at numerous centres across the UK and the standard treatment was aggressive radical surgery (Vanthoor et al, 2019). Unfortunately, such a radical approach often resulted in significant physical change, which was difficult for those affected to accept psychologically and adjust to (Hadway et al, 2016). To better address the needs of this patient group, 2012 saw the creation of centralisation of penile cancer services, which has led to the development of highly specialised multidisciplinary teams, improved patient care with more appropriate management, and better overall outcomes (Vanthoor et al, 2019).

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