Penile cancer is one of the uncommon cancer types, with an incidence rate of 0.84 cases per 100,000 person-years. It is a type of cancer that affects the penis, which is a crucial part of the male reproductive system. Like other cancer types, it has many subtypes, and the treatment depends on the subtype and its severity.
Nowadays, patients are open to seeking treatment from the best options abroad. This trend gave birth to the concept of medical tourism. It helped people explore the best and most cost-effective treatment options. India is known as one of the hot destinations for cancer treatment due to its excellent healthcare infrastructure and budget-friendly treatment costs.
Penile cancer can spread quickly when the patient doesn't get the proper treatment. Hence, getting deeper insights into the causes, symptoms, available treatment options, and penile cancer treatment cost in India are essential. Let's cover all these details in the upcoming segments.
What is Penile Cancer?
Cancer is a medical condition when the cells abnormally change and divide themselves without any control, causing a tumour's development. This type of cancer originates from the penis, one of the men's most crucial organs for reproduction and urination. The penis has the following components:
- Glans (or the head of the penis)
- Urethra, a tube that connects the bladder to the glans
- Meatus (or an opening tip present on the glans)
- Corpus cavernosa, spongy tissues present in the interior shaft and responsible for the erection.
- Corpus spongiosum is a group of tissues that can prevent the urethra's closure during erection.
What are the symptoms of Penile Cancer?
Some of the most common symptoms of penile cancer are:
- Abnormal changes in the skin's colour or thickness
- Rashes or bumps on the penis
- The presence of lumps on the penis or under the skin of the groin
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Sores or swelling
What are the different penile cancer types?
Penile cancer treatment majorly depends on its type and severity. Like other cancer types, there are many subtypes of this cancer of the penis. It includes:
Squamous cell carcinoma - The majority of penile cancers start with this type. It is a cancer type that starts with flat skin cells and usually originates from the foreskin or glans. The following are its subtypes:
- Verrucous carcinoma - It is a rare squamous cell carcinoma that resembles large genital warts.
- Carcinoma in situ - This type is the earliest stage of squamous cell carcinoma, affecting only the top skin layer.
Melanoma - It starts in melanocyte cells, responsible for the brown colour of our skin and our skin's protection from the sun's harmful rays. This type of cancer can spread quickly and needs medical intervention as soon as possible.
Basal cell carcinoma - This type of cancer affects basal cells, crucial for new skin cell production. It is uncommon in penile cancer.
Adenocarcinoma - It begins in the sweat glands present in the foreskin of the penis. Adenocarcinoma is often misinterpreted as penile carcinoma in situ.
Sarcoma - This rare type of penis cancer develops in the muscles, blood vessels, and other connective tissue cells in the penis.
What are the benefits of penile cancer treatment?
The advantages of penile cancer treatment depend entirely on the severity of the condition, treatment options, and treatment goals. But there are core benefits that include:
- Cure or prevent the growth: Penile cancer is curable. The proper treatment approach can help the patient defeat this dreadful disease and live with a smile. If the condition is at an advanced stage, then the benefit of penile cancer treatment is to slow down the progression.
- Life prolongation: Patients can enhance their survival rate with early diagnosis and treatment. Hence, the treatment plays a vital role in prolonging the life span.
- Give relief from pain: Like every cancer type, penile cancer can be excruciating. Thus, it can hamper the patient's daily routine. They can relieve themselves of this pain and other symptoms to improve their quality of life with treatment.
What are the eligibility criteria for penile cancer treatment?
Anyone who is diagnosed with penile cancer is eligible for the treatment. But some risk factors can increase the potential risk of penile cancer. It includes:
- People already suffering from Human Papillomavirus (HPV), HIV, or AIDS
- Tobacco consumption
- Previous psoriasis treatments
- Suffering from health conditions like phimosis as these can result in fluid buildup.
- People who aren't circumcised
Moreover, the eligibility for a specific type of penile cancer treatment depends on other factors like:
- The severity of the condition: The doctor suggests a treatment option according to the cancer's stage. Early stages can be cured with medications, laser therapy, circumcision, cryotherapy, Mohs surgery, etc. Treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, and penectomy are some treatment options for later stages.
- The subtype of cancer: For personalised penile cancer treatment and a better success rate, the subtype of cancer is essential. It helps in understanding the characteristics of the tumour.
- Age: Age influences the treatment goals and approach. Elderly patients aren't able to tolerate the aggressive treatment option.
- Existing health problems: Health problems like high blood pressure can affect the selection of treatments. Hence, you should discuss your health problems with your oncologist before treatment.
How can you prepare yourself for penile cancer treatment?
Surgery is the primary method to treat penile cancer patients. But sometimes, other treatment options like radiation therapy may be suggested along with or in place of surgery. If the tumour is at an early stage, the doctor may recommend other treatment options. And sometimes, the doctor can also recommend chemotherapy to treat large tumours.
The patient needs to keep many things in their mind as part of preparations. It includes:
- Diagnosis to examine your fitness: It would be best to undergo several medical tests, including blood tests, swab tests, ECG, breathing tests, an echocardiogram, a chest x-ray, and a cardiopulmonary exercise test before surgery. The result of these will help your doctor understand your physical fitness for anaesthesia and surgical recovery.
- Get a pre-assessment appointment: You must meet your doctor and ask all the surgery-related questions. It will help you understand the procedure and mentally prepare yourself. You can ask about the duration, recovery period, complications, etc.
- Perform breathing and leg exercises: Breathing exercises are suitable for the lungs and can help prevent lung infections. Leg exercises prevent blood clotting in the legs.
- Make changes in your lifestyle: It will be helpful to quit smoking a few weeks before your surgery. Also, wear compression stockings for your legs.
- Consume the right diet: In the evening before surgery, you must drink a carbohydrate-rich diet to get enough energy.
On the day of surgery
- Skip food at least 6 hours before the surgery.
- Remove jewellery, contact lenses, and false teeth. You might need to remove hair from the surgical site.
What is the surgical procedure for penile cancer treatment?
The surgical procedure for penile cancer treatment depends on the type of surgery. Different surgery types are:
- Mohs surgery (Mohs micrographic surgery): It is a good option for cancer tumours detected at an early stage. In this procedure, the doctor examines each layer of the skin through a microscope, and upon detecting a tumour, the surgeon removes that skin layer. This process continues until there are no cancerous cells in the skin layer. This procedure ensures minimal invasion and keeps up the appearance of the site.
- Circumcision: This treatment option is ideal when the cancer cells are present only on the foreskin. In this process, the surgeon removes the partial or complete foreskin.
- Wide local excision: The surgeon removes cancerous cells and some healthy tissues around those cancerous tissues to ensure the removal of all the cancerous cells.
- Perineal urethrostomy: It is a surgical process wherein a new opening is created for urination by an incision in the perineum area. This opening links to the urethra, which is solely responsible for flushing urine from the bladder.
- Penectomy (penis removal surgery): The surgeon may remove the partial or entire penis. It ensures the complete removal of cancerous tissues. Doctors often suggest this approach in severe conditions.
- Lymph node surgery: This procedure includes removing one or multiple lymph nodes that may contain cancer.
What are the potential risks and complications after penile cancer treatment?
Sometimes, some complications after penile cancer treatment can affect your daily routine. These include:
- Changes in how you urinate: Patients who have undergone penectomy may be unable to urinate while standing. It happens because the muscle that helps control your urine (sphincter muscle) is affected.
- Sexual life: After penile cancer treatment (excluding a penectomy), the patient may be able to have sex. But sometimes, the idea of some tissue removal from that area triggers the patient's psychology. They often develop an inferior complexion and doubt their abilities.
- Lymphedema: It is a medical condition wherein fluids are discharged into the legs or scrotum, resulting in swelling. After removing many lymph nodes and undergoing radiation therapy, one is more likely to develop lymphedema.
What are post-treatment care and follow-up tips after penile cancer treatment?
After the surgery, the patients must remember a few things. It includes:
- Take care of the wound: The surgery site should be bandaged perfectly. The nurse will be able to give clear instructions about dressing. You can also ask about the duration of the stitches.
- Focus on diet: You should eat and drink as soon as you feel comfortable.
- Medications: Initially, you may experience a lot of pain, and it is better to consume prescribed painkillers to suppress it.
- Mobility: Your doctor may recommend that you get up soon after surgery. But in the case of a glansectomy (removal of the glans), you must rest for a few days.
- Other aspects: Another critical aspect, like returning home and coping, depends on the patient’s condition and the type of surgery. For instance, patients undergoing penis removal must rest in the hospital for at least 4-5 days.
- Be sure to attend follow-up sessions: Attending all scheduled follow-up sessions is essential. It helps doctors examine the risk of recurrence.
What is the cost of penile cancer treatment in India?
India is well known for its brilliant healthcare facilities and effective treatment options for penile cancer. Moreover, the cost of penile cancer treatment cost in India is much more pocket-friendly than in other western countries. These facts explain why India is the destination for cancer treatment abroad.
The exact cost of the treatment depends on various factors, like location, treatment type, the complexity of the condition, the doctor's experience, medication, hospital stay, and follow-up sessions.
What are the outcomes and success rate of penile cancer treatment?
After penile cancer treatment, the patient can enjoy freedom from pain. Moreover, one may experience temporary side effects, which can be treated with post-treatment care.
The success rate of the treatment can be defined as the survival rate. The 5-year survival rate of penile cancer patients in the early stages is 80%. If the tumour spreads to different organs or lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is reduced to 50%.
How to live with penile cancer treatment?
As a penile cancer survivor, you need to keep a few things in mind after the treatment. It includes:
- Go for all follow-up sessions: To keep track of your condition and manage all the side effects of the treatment, you need to visit your doctor periodically for a follow-up session.
- Get a post-treatment care plan: Discuss post-treatment care with your doctor. You will be able to get a list of do's and don'ts, potential risks of side effects, medication, regular medical checkups, etc. You can get a personalised plan to speed up your recovery.
- Keep all the medical records and health insurance: After the treatment, you must present your medical expenses for a health insurance claim. So you need to prepare that documentation. Also, keeping past medical records can be helpful for the medical expert to analyse your condition.
- Make healthy changes: You need to follow a balanced meal plan to avoid the recurrence or progression of the tumour.
What are the alternatives to penile cancer treatment?
Like surgery, there are many penile cancer treatment alternatives, including:
- Chemotherapy: It uses drugs that can help destroy cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment approach uses radiation for penile cancer treatment.
- Immunotherapy: This process enhances your immunity to self-heal and defeat cancer.
- Ablation therapy: In the early stages, ablation therapy can be a good option. It uses different energy sources, like light and cold temperatures, to kill cancer cells.
Getting penile cancer treatment abroad can be a great idea to ensure effective treatment. And among all places, India can be the right destination for you regarding facilities, expertise, and expenses. So, if you want the most effective penile cancer treatment in India, we're here to help you. We can help you with the complete abroad treatment procedure. Moreover, you will get some additional perks like:
- The most affordable option: We can help make all medical tourism preparations so that you don't have to face any challenges while travelling to India for your treatment. Moreover, we try our best to minimise expenses without compromising on the quality of services. So you don't have to worry about legal formalities and budget.
- Personal assistance: Our team of experts can help you complete the process with their expertise. From medical visas to hotel bookings, we can help throughout the process.
- Best healthcare facilities: We help you avail best penile cancer treatment in some of the most trusted hospitals in India. These can offer world-class healthcare services with the use of top-notch technology.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Penile Cancer Treatment in India
Ques 1. How much does penile cancer treatment cost?
Ans 1. The treatment cost depends on the complexity of the case, the doctor's expertise, and the treatment option. The treatment may cost from INR 222000 to INR 300000.
Ques 2. Does insurance cover penile cancer treatment costs?
Ans 2. Some insurances have special rider benefits for cancer treatment. But the clauses vary according to the organisations. Moreover, specific cancer insurance can be helpful for the treatment. But the coverage will be offered according to the plan.
Ques 3. What are the costs associated with different types of penile cancer treatment?
Ans 3. Treatment costs depend on treatment type and severity. For example, some patients need surgery and radiation therapy or chemotherapy sessions. In such a situation, the treatment cost would be higher than others. Moreover, if the situation is critical, it will take longer to complete the treatment. Hence, treatment costs will increase.
Ques 4. Are there any alternative treatment options for penile cancer that may be cost-effective?
Ans 4. There are many cost-effective alternative treatment options. But only some treatment options are suitable for you. Moreover, alternative methods are best for improving the efficacy of the traditional treatment approach. Hence, discussing all the treatment options before choosing any path would be best.
Ques 5. How can I plan for and handle the financial burden of penile cancer treatment?
Ans 5. Insurance can be a great source of financial healing for your penile cancer treatment. But before doing so, you don't need to understand the terms and clauses of your insurance plan, including life insurance, health insurance, and cancer insurance. After that, try to save as much as possible on diagnosis, medications, and treatment with the proper planning. Adotrip can help in planning the same.
Ques 6. Can I try a medical loan or crowdfunding option to cover penile cancer treatment expenses?
Ans 6. Yes, both of these options are great for covering your medical costs. But you need to understand the terms and clauses attached to the options.