Tests for penile cancer

You usually start by seeing your GP if you have symptoms. They examine you and might refer you for tests or to a specialist.

You might have one or more of these tests to find out the cause of your symptoms, or to find out the size of your cancer and whether it has spread. This tells you the stage of your cancer.

Knowing the stage helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. 

Penile biopsy

A biopsy means removing a sample of tissue from the affected area of the penis. It's often one of the first tests you might have.

MRI scan

An MRI scan creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. It can show where cancer is in the penis and help doctors to understand the risk of it spreading.

CT scan

A CT scan is a test that uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body.

PET-CT scan

PET- CT scans combine a PET scan and a CT scan to give detailed information about where a cancer is.

Ultrasound scan and fine needle aspiration of the lymph nodes

You might have this test to check if there is any sign of cancer cells in the lymph nodes (glands) in your groin.

Dynamic sentinel lymph node biopsy for penile cancer

A dynamic sentinel node biopsy is a test to find out if there is cancer in the lymph nodes nearest your cancer.

Blood tests

There is no specific blood test for penile cancer. Blood tests can help check your general health and different types of chemicals and protein in the blood.

Last reviewed: 
10 Dec 2020
Next review due: 
10 Dec 2023
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