Penile cancer is a rare cancer. Around 600 men a year are diagnosed with it in the UK.

Men who smoke, who have had human papilloma virus infection and/or have a tight foreskin are at greater risk of developing penile cancer. It can affect any part of the penis but most commonly involves the foreskin and the head of the penis (glans penis). Men who present with penile cancer also need to be assessed for any spread of the disease to the groin and other lymph nodes.

Penile cancer can affect men of any age. The chances of cure are relatively high and treatment is often more successful, with a greater chance of penile preservation, if men present early.

Penile reconstruction surgery

We offer penile preserving surgery (penile reconstruction) to around most of our patients. Penile reconstruction involves excision of the cancer followed by reconstruction with a skin graft to try and preserve appearance and function.

We perform dynamic inguinal (groin) sentinel lymph node sampling in most of our patients. This is an operation to sample a few lymph nodes from the groins to assess whether there has been microscopic spread of the cancer, which can occur in about 1 in 5 men. This technique minimises the complications of groin surgery.

Most men do not need further treatment after their penile reconstruction surgery and groin sampling. A minority will need further nodal surgery, some of which is possible with “keyhole” surgery and they may also need radiotherapy and / or chemotherapy.

Some men who have the additional nodal surgery experience lymphoedema, swelling to their leg and / or genitals. We offer specialist clinics to help manage this.

If you would like to speak to our team about penile reconstruction or other treatments, please call us on 0161 327 1269 or email us at We also offer treatment for other urological cancers.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.