Penile Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Men with penile cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, men with penile cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor.

  • A growth or sore on the penis, especially on the glans or foreskin, although it can also occur on the shaft
  • Changes in the color of the penis
  • Skin thickening on the penis
  • Persistent discharge with a foul odor beneath the foreskin
  • Blood coming from the tip of the penis or from under the foreskin
  • Unexplained pain in the shaft or tip of the penis
  • Irregular or growing bluish-brown flat lesions or marks beneath the foreskin or on the penis
  • Reddish, velvety rash beneath the foreskin
  • Small, crusty bumps beneath the foreskin
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
  • Irregular swelling at the end of the penis

Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.