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Penile cancer

Penile cancer is rare, occurring mostly in older men. In Europe and North America, penile cancer constitutes less than 1% of malignant tumors in men, while in some South American countries, Africa, and Asia, this cancer type constitutes up to 10%, where cervical cancer also occurs more frequently.  

95% of penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Carcinomas originates from the epithelial cells of the glans or the preputium (inner fold). The cancer development often starts under non-retractable preputium (phimosis). 

About 20% of AIDS patients with Kaposi's sarcoma have lesions on the penis, and about 3% of AIDS patients debut with penile Kaposi's sarcoma. Malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are rare forms of penile cancer.


Most cases of penile cancer occur in men from age 60 to 70, but the disease also occurs in younger men.

In Europe and the USA, the incidence of penile cancer is about 1 per 100,000 per year. In certain areas of South America, Asia, and Africa, penile cancer represents 10-20% of all cancer forms in men. The disease rarely occurs in countries where ritual circumcision is performed in childhood. In Israel, there are less than 0.1 new cases per 100,000 per year.


Age-specific incidence of penile cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of penile cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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