After penile cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the penis or to other parts of the body.
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the penis or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
CT scan (CAT scan)
A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. A substance called gadolinium is injected into a vein. The gadolinium collects around the cancer cells so they show up brighter in the picture. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
The following stages are used for penile cancer:
Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)
In stage 0, abnormal cells are found on the surface of the skin of the penis. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.
In stage I, cancer has formed and spread to connective tissue just under the skin of the penis.
In stage II, cancer has spread to:
In stage III, cancer has spread to:
In stage IV, cancer has spread: