Why is it that we do not get attention to men’s health? Especially when it is related to their personal hygiene and related infections. Men have a lot of personal health issues that could lead them to severe problems. Penile cancer is actually a rare type of cancer that could result to terrible skin problems, irritation on the penis and organs near it. The cancer can eventually spread over other regions as well that could actually affect health of the person in several ways. Today we will know about different conditions, symptoms and causes of getting penile cancer.
What is Penile Cancer?
We spoke with Dr. Tushar Pawar, Surgical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre, Mumbai about penile cancer and its effect on health. Penile cancer or cancer of the penis is a relatively rare form of cancer that affects the skin and the tissues of the penis. It usually occurs in men around 60 years of age. It is found to be associated poor personal hygiene, sexually transmitted infections etc. People with circumcised penises are less likely to develop penile cancer. Survival rate of penile cancer is high if the disease is treated at an early stage. Surgery is the usual initial treatment.
Symptoms of Penile Cancer
There are some evident symptoms that could be seen in terms of penile cancer. Usually it begins with a lump, mass or ulcers on the penis. It might look very small but it could lead to severe irritation and discomfort in normal routine. In most of the cases, head or foreskin of the penis could be affected. Check out these symptoms that could lead to penile cancer if not treated at time-
- Burning sensation in the area
- Changes in the color of penis
- Thickening of penile skin
- Maintaining genital hygiene is important. If a person has a non-healing ulcer or swelling on the penis, or recent onset inability to retract the preputial skin (foreskin), then they should immediately see a specialist doctor and seek an opinion.
Risk Factors of Penile Cancer
As mentioned by expert earlier, people those who have uncircumcised penis are more likely to develop this cancer. This happens because those people have more chances of infections or conditions such as phimosis and smegma.
Phimosis is a condition because of which the foreskin of the penis becomes tight. As a result of this, it becomes difficult to retract or push it upward. They are also in the high risk of developing smegma. It is a substance that forms the dead skin in the cells, it also contains moisture, oil and collect the underneath foreskin.
Some additional risk factors could include the following-
- Men who are above age of 60 years
- Smoking too many cigarettes
- Do not clean the area under the foreskin properly
- Live in a region that has poor sanitation or does not carry good hygiene practices.
- Having a sexually transmitted disease or infection, caused by human papillomavirus
Penile Cancer Treatment
There are two main ways in which penile cancer could be reduced or controlled. Penile cancer has both invasive and non-invasive treatment methods. If the cancer has not penetrated into deeper tissues, then it is likely that cancer could be removed from the penis and regions near it. Here are some main treatment options for noninvasive and invasive penile cancer-
1. Circumcision- This is a surgery in which foreskin of the penis is removed
2. Laser Therapy- High intensity light is focused which helps to destroy tumors and cancer cells
3. Chemotherapy- It is an aggressive form of the chemical drug therapy; it is helpful in eliminating cancer cells from the body.
4. Immunotherapy- It is a clinical biological therapy that aids in boosting the immune system against the cancer cells.
5. Radiation Therapy- This is a proper cancer treatment which is intensive and used to shrink tumor and kill the live cancerous cells.
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