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Lumps on the penis


If men find hard lumps under the skin of their penis or on side of the shaft, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the fear of cancer. But significantly more often than penile cancer, however, lumps on the penis may indicate peyronie’s disease.

Penile cancer: Mostly a form of skin cancer

The most common form of penile cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This cancer accounts for about 95% of all malignant tumors affecting the penis. Less frequently, malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma or other soft tissue tumors are found. Though squamous cell carcinoma of the penis is also a rather rare disease (with approximately 600 new cases / year in Germany)

Squamous cell carcinomas originate from the superficial cell layer of the skin or mucosa. On the penis, they are manifested by small, crusty sores , small lumps, ulcers, a thickening of the skin or a simple rash.

These symptoms usually form more around the tip of the penis, glans and foreskin and only later spread to the shaft. Later, local bleeding of the ulcers may also occur and the cancer may eventually metastasize to adjacent tissues (erectile tissue, urethra, prostate, inguinal lymph nodes).

If penile cancer is detected early and the local tumor can be removed before the cancer metastasizes, there is a very good chance of cure.

Lumps on the penis: Peyronie’s plaque rather than penile cancer

Far more frequently than penile cancer, lumps on the penis can be attributed to peyronie’s disease (PD). This disease describes hardened tissue on the shaft of the penis which finally ends in a penile curvature and other deformities. An acquired penile curvature in form of a peyronie’s disease is estimated to affect about 10% of all men.

The lumps on the erectile tissue are called plaque and a kind of scar tissue: This hardened plaque lead to the fact that the erectile tissue can no longer unfold evenly during an erection, so that the erect penis becomes bent and crooked and can even develop a sharp kink .

Plaque on the penis: Where are the lumps?

Usually, palpable plaque is located on the top of the penis, but they can also be found on the bottom side of the penis. Sometimes the plaque only results in small dimples, but in most patients there is a visible bend and in some the plaque even forms a ring around the entire shaft, giving the erect penis an hourglass-like appearance.

The reason whay the plaque forms in the first place is not yet medically clear. Some medical professionals believe that plaque associated with PE is due to very small injuries (“microtrauma”) to the member, which then do not heal properly.  Instead, the body forms an unusual amount of scar tissue:  the plaque.

If you notice palpable plaque in the form of lumps or other changes on your penis, see a specialist early. Many men affected hope for Peyronie’s to resolve spontaneously and delay a visit to the doctor. No matter where the hardened tissue is located on the penis, on the erectile tissue, the skin on the shaft, the glans or the foreskin: The earlier the problem is detected and treated, the better the chances for improvement or total recovery.



Dr. med. Franklin Kuehhas

About the Author

Dr. med. Franklin Kuehhas Dr. Franklin Kuehhas is a medical specialist in the field of urology and andrology. He received his specialization training at the University College London. He also underwent his training at the prestigious University Hospital in Heidelberg (Germany) and at the University Hospital of Vienna (Austria). Dr Kuehhas focuses on the treatment of congenital and acquired penile curvatures (Peyronie’s disease), implantation of penile prostheses and also aesthetic genital surgery in men.