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Stage 3

Find out what stage 3 penile cancer means and about treatment options.

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far it’s spread. It helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

Stage 3 is part of the number staging system and has two stages.

Stage 3A

Stage 3A means the cancer involves the penis and one lymph node in the groin (inguinal). The cancer might have grown into the deeper tissues of the penis (the corpus spongiosum or corpus cavernosum), the urethra, or nearby vessels (such as blood or lymph vessels or nerves).

The cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, including nearby structures such as the bladder or prostate gland.

Stage 3B

Stage 3B means the cancer involves the penis and has spread to several groin lymph nodes. It might have spread to lymph nodes on both sides of the groin.

The cancer might have grown into the deeper tissues of the penis (the corpus spongiosum or corpus cavernosum), the urethra, or nearby vessels (such as blood or lymph vessels or nerves).

The cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, including nearby structures such as the bladder or prostate gland.

TNM staging system

Stage 3A is the same as T1-T3, N1, M0 in the TNM staging system.

Stage 3B is the same as T1-T3, N2, M0 in the TNM staging system.

Treatment

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

You usually have removal of part of the penis or removal of the whole penis.

Some men have chemotherapy or chemotherapy with radiotherapy before surgery.

Lymph nodes in the groin 

You also have treatment for the lymph nodes in the groin. You might have the nodes removed with surgery (lymphadenectomy). Or you may have radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the groin. If you have surgery you might have radiotherapy afterwards. 

If the lymph nodes are very large you might have chemotherapy (with or without radiotherapy). 

Other stages

Last reviewed: 
06 Apr 2016
  • Guidelines on Penile Cancer

    O.W. Hakenberg and others

    European Association of Urology (EAU) 2014

     

    American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) manual (7th edition)

    S Edge and others

    Springer, 2010

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