Diagnosing Penile Cancer

Support Throughout the Diagnostic Process

Our physicians, nurses and support staff are here to advise you, listen to you and calm your fears. Your physicians will explain your diagnosis and compassionately offer suggestions for treatment and care. Their job is to help you.

Also available for counsel, support and guidance are nurse coordinators, oncology social workers and a pastoral team. They’ll help you navigate through the system and provide additional assistance, including:

  • Social support
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advice
  • Tips on coping

Call on them. Their job is to help you.

Because most penile cancers begin on the skin, you may notice signs of penile cancer early, when cure is most likely. Our Scott & White GU Cancer Team is expert at the identification, diagnosis and evaluation of penile malignancies. You’ll have solid hope for good results.

Our staff at Scott & White knows a diagnosis of penile cancer is alarming. Our specially trained genitourinary oncologists, nurses and support force compassionately provide you with the most advanced care available for your cancer of the penis.

Penile Cancer Diagnostic Services

At Scott & White Healthcare, we use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to help identify your tumors with clarity and precision.

If your physician suspects you may have penile cancer, he or she may recommend one or more of the following tests.

Physical Exam

  • Physical examination and history. Your physician will begin with a thorough physical exam and medical history.

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Biopsy

A biopsy is the best way to confirm the presence of penile cancer. A biopsy is the surgical removal of a small tissue sample. There are several ways to procure a biopsy, depending on the type and location of the lesion. Your physician will discuss which option is best for you.

Tissue samples will be sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist.

  • Incisional biopsy. In this procedure, your surgeon will remove only a small part of the abnormal tissue. An incisional biopsy is recommended when the lesion is:
    • Large
    • Appears as a sore (ulcerated)
    • Is growing deep into your skin tissues
      • Incisional biopsies are generally performed in your surgeon’s office using a local anesthetic.
  • Excisional biopsy. In this procedure, your surgeon will remove the entire lesion. An excisional biopsy is recommended when the lesion is:
    • Small (1 cm or smaller)
    • Appears as a nodule or lump
    • Appears as a flat plaque
      • Excisional biopsies are generally performed in your surgeon’s office using a local anesthetic.
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA). In this procedure, your surgeon, guided by CT or ultrasound, will insert a thin, hollow needle into your tumor or nodule and adjacent lymph nodes and remove small samples of tissue.
    • FNAs are generally performed in your surgeon’s office with local anesthesia.
  • Inguinal (groin) lymph node dissection. In this minimally invasive surgical procedure, your surgeon will remove lymph nodes in your groin area. This procedure is generally performed in your surgeon’s office with local anesthesia.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy. In this minimally invasive surgical procedure, your surgeon will remove lymph nodes located near the lesion site. This procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia.

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Imaging Tests

If you have a positive diagnosis of penile cancer, your physician may order one or more of the following imaging tests to check for signs of disease or determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body:

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Chest X-ray
  • Bone scan

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