One diagnosis nobody wants to hear is that they have penis cancer. Just the thought of cancer can send shivers down a grown-man’s spine. Unfortunately, many people ignore the warning signs of such an illness out of fear; they may suspect something is wrong for many months before finally going to the doctor. Sound familiar? Finding cancer -- of any kind -- in the earlier stages allows for the best possible outcome. Below are some of the signs of symptoms of penile cancer that men should keep an out for when completing their daily penis care routine. Taking a proactive stance at the first suspicious sign may just save a man’s life.
Is there such a thing as penis cancer?
Many men have heard of prostate cancer but are unfamiliar with penile cancer. However, it is important to be aware that penis cancer is very real, and can affect any man. Penis cancer occurs when cancerous cells form in the tissue of the penis; it generally starts in a skin cell, known as a squamous cell, and grows slowly from there. Rarely, penis cancer can occur in the sweat glands of the penis.
Penile cancer signs and symptoms
Below are some of the most common signs of penile cancer. Because the symptoms also overlap other conditions – including STD’s – it is important to consult a doctor for a diagnosis if any of these symptoms should persist.
- Penis sores
- Penile discharge
- Bleeding from the penis or sores
- Painful penis bumps or lumps
- Persistent redness, or irritation of the penis
Risk factors for penis cancer
There are certain actions and behaviors in life that increase the risk of developing an illness or disease. Risk factors do not automatically mean a person will develop the disease – even if they have every single risk factor – but it allows a man to take stock of his behavior and consider how certain choices he is making may influence his long-term health. Risk factors for penis cancer are:
- Having contracted Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Being uncircumcised
- Being over age 60
- Chronic, poor personal hygiene
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
- Having numerous sexual partners
- Having phimosos – when the foreskin of the penis is unable to retract over the head of the penis
- Certain psoriasis treatments
Is penile cancer treatable?
Thankfully, if caught in early stages, penile cancer can be treated. Surgery is the most common method of treatment for penile cancer. Below is a brief list of the surgical options for penile cancer treatment.
- Circumcision: If the cancer is located in the foreskin, a simple circumcision may be all that is required to treat the condition.
- Wide local excision: The cancerous cells, and the tissue immediately surrounding it, are removed from the penis tissue.
- Laser surgery: A laser is used to target and remove cancerous cells.
- Microsurgery: A microscope is used during surgery so that the doctor can target and surgically remove cancerous tissue with as little healthy tissue removed as possible.
- Electrodessication and curettage: In this method, the cancer is removed by scraping the tumor with a curette while also applying and electrical current to the specific area to kill cancer cells.
- Cryosurgery: In this procedure, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and kill cancer cells.
- Amputation: In some cases, a removal of the penis via a penectomy is required. Full, or partial removal of the penis may be warranted depending on the severity of the cancer. Lymph nodes in the groin may also be removed during surgery, to ensure the cancer is eliminated from the body.
- Radiation: High-energy rays are targeted at cancer cells to kill them; this is a non-surgical procedure.
- Chemotherapy: High doses of potent medication are given to kill cancer cells, also a non-surgical procedure.
Maintaining penis health
While the chance of a total penectomy is rare for the average, healthy man, it is easy to see why taking proper care of the penis – and seeking immediate medical attention for an out-of-the-ordinary penis lump or bump is so important. Doctors recommend a monthly self-exam of the penis, testicles, and groin area to check for both visible and invisible bumps. Men should carefully palpate the groin and scrotum to feel for bumps, which may indicate testicular or penile cancer. In many case, a sore may be just that; a sore; but it could also be an indication of something more serious. While a careful examination should be conducted monthly, daily penis care should also be instituted to keep the member healthy. Utilizing a high-quality penis vitamin cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can help protect the penis from unsightly pimples, lumps and bumps by reducing bacterial growth and chance of infection. Simply apply a penis vitamin cream directly on the skin after a shower to achieve maximum effect and benefits.