Penile cancer is rare in Canada and the United States.
These are the risk factors for this cancer. Not all of these risk factors may cause this cancer, but they may help the cancer start growing.
- Being between the ages of 50 and 70 years old.
- Not being circumcised.
- Not regularly cleaning under your foreskin (loose skin covering the head of an uncircumcised penis).
- Smoking, now or in the past.
- 30 or more sexual partners.
- You have had
- A rash on your penis.
- A sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or genital warts.
Note: Available statistics do not have information about the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse participants. It is unknown how these statistics apply to transgender and gender diverse people. Patients are advised to speak with their primary care provider or specialists about their individual considerations and recommendations.
Here are some things you can do to lower your risk of penile cancer:
Wash regularly: If you are uncircumcised, you should pull back your foreskin and wash regularly. This helps wash off the smegma (a substance made up of dead skin cells, bacteria and oil from your skin). Smegma can irritate the skin of your penis.
Practice safe sex: Use a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Get regular sexual health screening: Sexual health screening is important for people who are sexually active.
Get vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus): It is best to get the HPV vaccine before becoming sexually active. However, people who are already sexually active may still benefit from the vaccine. More information at
Stop smoking. Do not smoke and try not to be around tobacco and cigarette smoke. Even if you have been using tobacco for many years, quitting will lower your risk of getting cancer. Support is available to help you quit smoking.
There is no screening program for this type of cancer.