Penile Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Factors

A Contemporary Review

Antoin Douglawi; Timothy A. Masterson


Curr Opin Urol. 2019;29(2):145-149. 

In This Article


Penile cancer is a rare malignancy that can be physically and psychologically devastating. Although it remains a significant source of morbidity in the developing world, public health infrastructure and high rates of neonatal circumcision have rendered it a rarity in developed countries. A wide range of risk factors have been identified, some of which are modifiable. HPV vaccination adopted by certain countries has been successful at reducing rates of female HPV-related cancers. The effectiveness for penile cancer has not yet been elucidated but early and extrapolated data are promising.

Penile cancer incidence rates and outcomes appear to correlate with health awareness and having access to prompt care. Although neonatal circumcision remains controversial in some countries, education and public health initiatives should be considered to develop healthcare infrastructure and promote smoking cessation, better hygiene, and ubiquitous HPV vaccination.