Penile cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the penis. Human papillomavirus infection may increase the risk of developing this disease.
The most common signs and symptoms of penile cancer include sores, discharge and bleeding. Tests that examine the penis are used to diagnose penis cancer.
There are several types of penis cancer that include the following:
Squamous cell or epidermoid carcinoma: This makes up 95% of penile cancer cases. This type of penile cancer mainly starts on or under the foreskin, but can also appear on the other part of the penis.
Sarcoma: This cancer forms in tissues like blood vessels, muscle and fat. Different types of sarcoma are based on where cancer develops.
Melanoma: This is a form of skin cancer that begins in the cell that controls the pigment in the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma: This cancer starts deep in the skin. Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly and is not likely to spread to other areas of the body.
There are several factors that cause and increase the risk of penile cancer. This may include:
- Human papillomavirus
- Age over 60
- Weak immune system because of HIV or AIDS
- Psoriasis treatment
Apart from all these, uncircumcised men are at greater risk to develop penile cancer as fluids and a thick buildup called smegma can easily collect under the foreskin, increasing the risk of cancer growth.
Changes in the penis skin are one of the most common symptoms of penile cancer. Apart from this, there can be other symptoms too that may include the following:
- Bluish-brown growth
- A lump on the penis
- Changes in skin colour or thickness
- A rash or small crusty bumps on the penis
- Foul-smelling discharge underneath the foreskin
- A sore on the penis which may bleed
- Swelling at the end of the penis
- Lump under the skin of the groin
The above-mentioned signs don’t always mean penile cancer. They can also be because of an infection or allergy. However, it’s extremely important to consult a doctor on time and discuss these signs and symptoms.
First, the doctor does the physical examination and asks a few questions about the symptoms and tries to know about the medical history of the patient. After that, the doctor may recommend a few tests that include a biopsy and imaging tests.
The treatment of penile cancer is determined by its stage and severity and the overall health of the patient. If penile cancer is in its initial stage, the doctor may use the following options to treat the disease:
- Mohs surgery
However, penile cancer is further along or more likely to spread, the doctor might also use:
- Radiation and/or chemotherapy
Most treatments for early-stage of penile cancer don’t affect the ability to have sex or fertility, but chemotherapy and radiation might.