What are the types of penile cancer?

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There are a number of different types of penile cancer, depending on the kind of cell in which the cancer began. Knowing the type you have can help your doctors plan your treatment.

The most common types of penile cancer include:

Squamous cell cancer: This accounts for about 90% of all penile cancer cases. It starts in the flat skin cells (squamous cells) on the surface of the penis. The most common sites for this cancer are the head of the penis (glans) or the foreskin (if you are not circumcised). Squamous cell cancers that are found early are usually curable.

There are various subtypes of squamous cell carcinoma – your doctor can give you more information about your type of cancer.

Melanoma: This is where the cancer develops in the skin cells that give the skin its colour (melanocytes). Melanomas are usually found in skin that is exposed to the sun, but they can occur in other places such as the penis.

Sarcoma: These rare cancers develop in the connective tissues in the penis, such as the blood vessels and smooth muscle.

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