Chemotherapy for penile cancer
Read about chemotherapy for penile cancer. There is information about
Chemotherapy for penile cancer
Chemotherapy uses anti cancer drugs to kill cancer cells. For penile cancer you might have chemotherapy cream or chemotherapy into a vein. The treatment you have depends on the stage of your cancer.
Chemotherapy cream only kills the cancer cells in the area of skin treated. Doctors use it for carcinoma in situ or a small, early stage cancer on the foreskin or end of your penis. The cream only reaches the top layers of the skin. It doesn't treat deeper cancers.
Chemotherapy into a vein
You might have chemotherapy into your bloodstream if your cancer has spread from the penis to other parts of your body. Chemotherapy is often given with radiotherapy.
The side effects you may get depend on the type of chemotherapy you have.
When using chemotherapy cream your skin might become sore, red and inflamed.
Chemotherapy into a vein may cause tiredness, sickness, a sore mouth, a higher risk of getting an infection and hair loss.
You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the treating penile cancer section.
Chemotherapy cream only kills the cancer cells in the area of skin treated. Doctors use it for in situ, or small early stage cancer on the foreskin or end of the penis. It is called topical chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy drug in the cream is fluorouracil. You put the cream on the cancerous area, every day for several weeks. The cream only kills cancer cells in the top layers of the skin. It doesn't treat deeper cancers.
Your skin might become sore, red and inflamed when using chemotherapy cream. Tell your doctor or nurse if this happens. They can give you other creams and painkillers to help. These side effects should wear off within a couple of weeks after stopping treatment.
You might have chemotherapy into your bloodstream if your cancer has spread from the penis to other parts of your body. The chemotherapy drugs circulate through the body.
You might have one or more of the following drugs. Click on the name of the drug to find out about specific side effects.
The chemotherapy might be combined with radiotherapy. This is called chemoradiotherapy.
The side effects you get depend on which drug or combination of drugs you have. The most common side effects are
- Sore mouth
- A higher chance of getting infections
- Hair loss
We don't yet know much scientifically about how some nutritional or herbal supplements might interact with chemotherapy. Some could be harmful. It is very important to let your doctors know if you take any supplements. Also tell them if you are prescribed any remedies by alternative or complementary therapy practitioners.
Some studies seem to show that fish oil makes chemotherapy work less well. Tell your doctor if you are taking fish oil or thinking of doing so. Also tell them about any other medicines you take while you are having chemotherapy.
Find out more about the safety of herbal, vitamin and diet supplements.
You can find more about chemotherapy in the main chemotherapy section. It explains the treatment in detail.
Our cancer information nurses can answer your questions. If you are a patient or relative in the UK with a question about cancer, call free on 0808 800 4040, 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
Share experiences on our online forum – Cancer Chat.
The organisations that support men with penile cancer also have information about chemotherapy.
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team