Signs and symptoms of penile cancer
Other signs or symptoms of penile cancer include:
- Bleeding from the penis or under the foreskin
- A foul smelling discharge
- A change in the colour of the penis or foreskin
- Irritation (itching), discomfort or sharp pain (although some people have no pain)
- Thickening of the skin of the penis or foreskin that makes it difficult to draw back the foreskin (phimosis)
- Difficulty urinating (although many can urinate without difficulty); taking longer than normal, rash, wart or lumps covering the hole for peeing or urinary tract (water) infections
- Blood in the urine
- Permanent semi-erection
- Swollen lymph nodes in your groin area
Many of the men noticed a rash or wart-like growth on the end of their penis. This was usually bright or crimson red although some men found that it was white or slightly discoloured compared to the rest of the glans. A rash or wart-like growth may be harmless although because it can be a sign of many conditions it is best to discuss it with your doctor. A few had this discolouration for much of their life, had it checked out when they were young and had no problems with it until their cancer. A white patch on the glans or foreskin, often accompanied by a tight foreskin may be caused by a skin problem on the penis called lichen sclerosus, lichen sclerosus et atrophicus or balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), which increases the risk of penile cancer and should therefore be monitored long-term by your doctor. A rash or wart-like growth may be harmless and last for a long time but any changes in appearance, or if it starts to bleed, leak fluid or becomes painful should be investigated. For others, the rash or wart-like growth was recent, having developed over a couple of weeks or years. Tom noticed a slight rash under his foreskin and went to his GP because it did not clear up. It can start out as a slight inflammation or a pinhead sized wart and grow larger. Sometimes, the rash or wart may decrease in size before growing again. The rash or wart may bleed, leaving spots of blood in underwear, or leak a white fluid or discharge.
Jordan had a discoloured patch on his penis for 28 years, which he had earlier checked out at his...
Going back... before my first daughter was born... there was a patch on the end of my penis, ah, just sort of discoloured. It was white, sort of, well… not as pink as the rest of it, whitish, about the size of a 5p piece.
Well the patch on the penis had been there, I’d say, 28 years, but it had never changed at all, so I didn’t bother about. I didn’t think anything of it. I did having said that, I did see the doctor because my wife said until I got it looked at, as she was carrying my daughter, before she was born. She said, ‘Get it looked at, otherwise I don’t want to make love. So [laugh] obviously that got me round to the doctor’s. The doctor looked at me and he said he didn’t see any problem with it. It was just a bit of discolouration and… it never went any further. And obviously for the, the last 27 years it’s not gone any further. So, it was when the lump started to grow, and... the bleeding and that sort of thing, that I actually... made the decision to do something about it.
Steves rash grew smaller then bigger while it was treated by his GP as skin discolouration on...
It would go smaller then go bigger again. You see you’d think you’d got it under control and it would grow back out again. So it’s... it was very weird. But that’s when I thought it was lichen sclerosus. I just thought we was curing it and then it would come back and they’d see. It was when it... it just got bigger, that’s when they decided it couldn’t be lichen sclerosus.
When in the bath, John checked himself and was concerned to find a lump on the left hand side of...
I just happened to be thinking about things you hear on the radio and stuff about checking your body and stuff and I just seemed to find my way to doing that in the bath one day and I was just feeling around my groin and I just – I don’t know why I did it, I just did – and then I came across in my left hand side in the groin, I came across this lump and it just seemed really strange and I sort of pushed it and it was like really solid and I just thought ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and I felt the other side and there was nothing there and I just knew there was something.
Paul talked about how the stinging, sharp pain on his penis came and went for a long period.
Well yeh because the tumour was on the side of my penis and it was getting larger and of course… again it’s going to sound crazy but I went through a lot of pain, all them, well 18 months or more.
I don’t know what’s the best way to explain it? Like a stinging pain, like a sharp pain, but it wasn’t there all the time. You know some days there was nothing, no pain at all then other times it would start up again.
Peter had a small itch on his penis that gradually worsened.
Well as I say like I started with a small itch in the penis and each night it got gradually worse so I thought I’d better go and see a doctor about it and they treated it with Canesten cream. But after a period of a matter of a few weeks it didn’t subside any, and in fact it got really worse and eventually it was little white spots that was on the end of the penis so the doctor then told me I would have to go and see a specialist.
John had always had a tight foreskin, and as part of his investigations he had a circumcision,...
And then for some reason they decided to do...my foreskin was tight and that was a thing I’d always known from a kid and it didn’t impair my love life or anything but, and I wasn’t the sort of person, you know you hear of these doctors on the radio saying “check yourself everyday”, I wasn’t the sort of person that used to look at my foreskin and see if it was alright but it was a fact that it was slightly difficult to pull it back. And... so one of the consultants, and the great thing about the National Health is you have all these people on it, all these different people, students, consultants, all these different people, so you’re getting people, all these people from different angles are thinking of ways to go forward, which I’ve always found brilliant actually and so you do, it’s a scatter approach so you do, you never know – there’s always hope in that I’ve found. And somebody came up with the idea that we should do – “maybe that’s the problem, let’s do a circumcision” and then they did a circumcision, a little bit, partial circumcision it’s called, so, and that revealed on the gland of my penis that the primary source was the cancer and you could see it.
Tim wasnt too worried about his difficulties peeing but checked it out with his GP in case it...
It was just over a year ago, about a year and a half ago, and I’d slowly been having problems going to the toilet, weeing usually. Usually, it was after I’d been to the toilet, there was dribbles coming out. I had to go out to go straight back again. And I did a little bit of reading around and it fitted the symptoms of prostate cancer. I wasn’t too worried at that stage but ah, I thought I’d mention it to the doctors. I was seeing the doctor anyway for blood pressure, so I just mentioned it while I was there. He then sent me off to have blood tests and investigate that. Those all came back negative when I went to see him again. He, but in the meantime, problems slowly got worse, and it got to the stage where when I was standing to, standing up to wee, it was just taking ages and ages to pass water and I was thinking, ‘the next time I come I’m going to bring a book here to [laugh] it’s not going to come out again at all next, one day. So I went back to the doctor and then, well about that sort of time, I started to notice a growth right from the end of my penis. It looked like a sort of tiny wart. So when I went back to see the doctor, talking about the prostate cancer, but those tests had come back negative.
Franks first symptom was difficulty peeing, which worsened and became painful as the growth...
When I first realised something was wrong the main symptom, the first symptom was difficulty in urinating and then... gradually the – if I describe the penis, the opening of the penis started to close and it started to form a skin over it and within three or four weeks I was in tremendous pain... and the pressure of the urine when I needed to urinate was starting to force its way through the side of the member. Then it was at that point as I mentioned previously, that I realised something was quite serious. First of all the discomfort, secondly the difficulty in urinating and thirdly... the terrible pain.
A GP suspected that James had a urinary tract infection and gave him antibiotics with which it...
And eventually I got a... waterworks infection. So I rang up the doctors and I couldn’t get in to see my doctor but I saw the nurse practitioner who prescribed some antibiotics. Which were... worked wonderfully. They saw the waterworks infection off. But within a fortnight it was back. Then I rang the doctors again and I still couldn’t see the, my doctor but I got a locum who was a young Indian doctor, who was quite switched on and on-the-ball. And he examined me and gave me a larger dose of the antibiotics to clear up the waterworks.
Mark's symptoms of pain, a semi-permanent erection, a white discharge and blood in his urine progressively worsened until he found he couldn't urinate, which left him extremely frightened.
I admitted myself to the local hospital on the 8th of October 2009, and… I’d considered that I’d been ill for… way before maybe five months before that. It manifested its way, it was strange really in as much that… it looked like, that I had a permanent semi-erection. The penis wasn’t soft. It was… it was hard to the touch. The skin... was... sort of adhering itself to something that was underneath it. It was the strangest thing. And indescribable pain, the pain got worse on the approach to the 8th of October. It was manageable... three or four weeks before but got progressively worse. I was... finding it difficult to urinate, I was urinating... blood... and copious amounts of blood as well. And a white fluid, I don’t know what the white fluid was. And... I should have… I should have gone... three or four weeks prior.
But I didn’t. They... said that when I got there... that they were pleased that I’d actually gone in reasonable time. But I, on the morning of the 8th of October I woke up with every intention of going to work. And at that time I was finding it sufficiently difficult to pass water. That I was getting in the shower, and I was, I was trying to urinate in the shower and I couldn’t pass any water at all. And I was absolutely terrified, because, everybody in the morning you want to get up and you empty your bladder, and I couldn’t do it… I kept calm, as calm as I possibly could. And I jumped in the car and got myself ready for work, and I drove to the local hospital. And admitted myself into A&E.
Last updated January 2015.