Survival depends on different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live.
Doctors usually work out the outlook for a certain disease by looking at large groups of people. Because this cancer is less common, survival is harder to estimate than for other, more common cancers.
Some of the statistics have to be based on a small number of people. Remember, they can't tell you what will happen in your individual case.
Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).
Survival by stage
There are no UK wide statistics available for penile cancer survival by stage.
The statistics presented below are from a study that looked at penile cancer survival in one English hospital between 2000 and 2011. Survival depends on whether or not the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes.
More than 90 out of 100 men with N0 cancer (more than 90%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
N0 penile cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Almost 75 out of 100 men with N1 cancer (almost 75%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
N1 penile cancer has spread to one lymph node in the groin.
Around 60 out of 100 men with N2 cancer (around 60%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
N2 penile cancer has spread to several groin lymph nodes OR to lymph nodes in both groins.
Almost 35 out of 100 men with N3 cancer (almost 35%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
N3 penile cancer has spread to lymph node(s) in one or both sides of the pelvis OR the cancer cells in a nearby lymph node have grown into surrounding tissues.
Cancer that has spread (M1)
Unfortunately if the cancer has spread to another part of the body, the outlook is poorer than this. In this study, none of the men with disease that had spread (M1 cancer) survived for 5 years.
Oncologic Outcomes of Penile Cancer Treatment at a UK Supraregional Center
R Veeratterapillay and others
Urology. 2015 May;85(5):1097-101
Survival for all stages
There are no UK wide statistics available for penile cancer survival. The statistics below are for men diagnosed with penile cancer in England. They are for men diagnosed between 2009 and 2013.
Of all men diagnosed with cancer of the penis:
- around 90 out of every 100 men (around 90%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
- around 75 out of every 100 men (around 75%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
- almost 70 out of every 100 men (almost 70%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
These statistics are for people diagnosed with penile cancer in England between 2009 and 2013.
Net survival and the probability of cancer death from rare cancers.
P Muller and others
Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
What affects survival
Your outcome depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.
The type of cancer and grade of the cancer cells can also affect your likely survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.
About these statistics
The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.
5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.
For more in-depth information about survival and penile cancer, go to our Cancer Statistics section.