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A penile cancer recurrence refers to a cancer that comes back after treatment is completed and there is a period of time with no visible signs of cancer (or no signs of a stable cancer’s growth). In most cases, patients do not ever develop a second cancer. However, men who have previously been diagnosed with penile cancer do have an elevated risk of developing a second tumor, and therefore need to be aware of any unusual changes that could potentially indicate a recurrence.

In most cases, the signs of a penile cancer recurrence are the same as those that indicated the original cancer. Unusual changes in the appearance or composition of the penis, along with pain, bleeding or swelling should be discussed with an oncologist. Visual symptoms, such as a rash or unusual lump, can develop in the same part of the penis as the original cancer or in a different location. As a result, it’s especially important for men with a history of a penile cancer to regularly check their genitals for unusual changes and report anything unusual to a physician or oncologist.

If a man does experience a recurrence, his oncologists might recommend the same type of treatment that was used previously, or they may try a different approach. The most common options for treating a penile cancer recurrence include:

  • Radiation therapy to target cancerous cells and potentially cancerous lymph nodes with high-energy beams

  • Surgery to remove as many cancerous cells as possible

  • Clinical trials designed specifically to explore new treatments for recurrent penile cancer

If you’re concerned that you might be experiencing a penile cancer recurrence, Moffitt Cancer Center’s oncologists can assess your symptoms and perform any necessary diagnostic tests on site. You’ll work with a team of oncologists who specialize exclusively in the diagnosis and treatment of genitourinary cancers, including recurrent cancers of the penis. To learn more, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form  online; referrals are not required.