Decorative image

Stage 2

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. It helps your doctor plan the best treatment for you.

Stage 2 is part of the number staging system and means your cancer has grown deep into the tissues of the penis below the top layers of the skin.

Stage 2 is divided into stage 2a and 2b.

Stage 2a

Stage 2a means the cancer has spread to either one of the following:

  • nearby blood or lymph vessels and, or nerves, or it is high grade (grade 3)
  • the spongy erectile tissue (corpus spongiosum) - it may or may not have spread to the urethra Open a glossary item

The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.

Stage 2b

Stage 2b means the cancer has spread into the erectile tissue (corpus cavernosum) on the body of the penis. It may or may not have spread to the urethra Open a glossary item.

The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant parts of the body.

TNM Staging

In the TNM staging system:

Stage 2a is the same as:

  • T1b, N0, M0
  • T2, N0, M0

Stage 2b is the same as:

  • T3, N0, M0


The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is
  • other health conditions that you have

Surgery is the main treatment for stage 2 penile cancer. You usually have removal of part of the penis (partial penectomy) or removal of the whole penis (penectomy).

You might also have radiotherapy. Some people have radiotherapy first and then surgery if some cancer cells remain afterwards. 

Your doctor might check the lymph nodes Open a glossary item in your groin with a test called sentinel lymph node biopsy to see if cancer cells have spread there. Or your surgeon might remove the lymph nodes. 

Other stages

Last reviewed: 
16 Dec 2020
Next review due: 
16 Dec 2023
  • American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Manual (8th edition)

    S Edge and others (editors)

    Springer, 2018

  • Guidelines on Penile Cancer
    OW Hakenberg and others
    European Association of Urology (EAU), 2018

  • Cancer Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th Edition)

    VT DeVita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg

    Wolters Kluwer, 2019