What are the types of penile cancer?

Nearly all penile cancers begin in the penis' skin cells. Approximately 95 percent of penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which are cancers that start in the flat skin cells called squamous cells. These cancers are most often found in the foreskin or the glans (head) of the penis.

Other, less common forms of penile cancer can include:

  • Melanoma - this is an aggressive type of skin cancer that forms in the melanocytes
  • Basal cell carcinoma - this is a slow-growing form of skin cancer that rarely spreads
  • Adenocarcinoma - this is also known as Paget disease of the penis. It is a rare form of penile cancer that can form in the sweat glands in the penis skin.
  • Sarcoma - this is a cancer that can form in the smooth muscle, blood vessels or other connective tissue in the penis
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