Screening for penile cancer | Cancer Research UK
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Screening for penile cancer

Men and women discussing penile cancer

Find out why there is no screening programme for cancer of the penis.

Screening means testing for early stages of a disease before there are any symptoms.

Before doctors can screen for any type of cancer, they must have an accurate test to use. The test must be reliable in finding cancers that are there. But it must also not give a positive result in people who don't have cancer. This is called a 'false positive'.

At the moment, we don’t have a test that is reliable in picking up early cancers of the penis. There is no screening programme for penile cancer in the UK at the moment because

  • It would not find many cancers
  • The cost would be very high
  • The tests have risks that outweigh the benefits for most men

With uncommon diseases, it is more cost effective to screen people who are at higher risk than average. But first we need to know who is at higher risk.

Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at higher than average risk of penile cancer. This might be the case if you have a medical condition that increases your risk. You may be able to have check ups from time to time.

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Updated: 1 April 2016