Penile Cancer: FAQ-Answer Guide for Men with Penile Cancer


Men with penile cancer are frequently concerned with the same issues as the typical person, but there is one issue that many men with penile cancer wish to get a grip on – literally. Although penile cancer can attack any portion of the penis, the vast majority of cases manifest on the glans (commonly known as the head) or beneath. It is fairly uncommon for these men to fear that their penises will become misshapen and inoperable. In some instances, they are correct. On other occasions, though, they are erroneous and worry themselves unduly.


What Is Penile Cancer?


Penile cancer, or cancer of the penis, is the uncontrolled growth of cells in or on the penis. It often begins in skin cells and can spread within.


It is a rarity. However, it is treatable, especially if detected early on.


There are numerous kinds of penile cancer, which include:


Squamous cell or epidermoid cancer. This comprises 95% of all cases of penile cancer. It typically begins on or beneath the foreskin, but can also manifest in other areas of the penis.


Sarcoma. These tumors develop in tissues such as blood vessels, muscle, and fat.


Melanoma. This is cancer that begins in the pigment-producing cells of the skin.


Basal cell carcinoma. These tumors begin deep within the skin. They spread unlikely to other places of the body and grow slowly.


Types of Prostate Cancer


The penis contains numerous cell kinds, one for each type of tissue. These cells can be the source of multiple forms of penile cancer. The variances are significant since they determine the severity of the malignancy and the necessary treatment. Almost every type of penile cancer develops in the skin cells of the penis.


The four most frequent kinds of penile cancer are as follows:


  1. Epidermoid or squamous cell cancer


In the United States, squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 95% of all cases of penile cancer. Although it often begins on or beneath the foreskin, it can develop in other parts of the penis as well.


  1. Sarcoma


Sarcomas are a very uncommon kind of penile cancer. These cancers originate in the blood vessels, smooth muscle, or other connective tissue cells of the penis.


  1. Melanoma


Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in melanocytes, the cells that give skin its brownish hue and serve as a sunscreen. The vast majority of melanomas are found on sun-exposed skin, although they are uncommon in the penis.


  1. Basal cell cancer


Basal cell carcinoma, often known as basal cell cancer, is another type of skin cancer that can occur on the penis. It only accounts for a minor percentage of penile cancers. This type of cancer grows slowly and seldom spreads to other parts of the body.


Penile cancer indications


Penile Cancer Risk Factors and Causes


Experts are unsure of the specific cause of penile cancer. According to research, it is more prevalent in men who:


  • Have human papillomavirus infection (HPV)


  • Are over age 60


  • Smoke


  • Have a compromised immune system due to HIV or AIDS


  • Lack of circumcision. Under the foreskin, fluids and a thick deposit known as smegma can accumulate and increase the likelihood of cancer development.


  • You have phimosis, which makes your foreskin tight and difficult to clean. It can also result in fluid accumulation.


  • Utilized the medication psoralen and ultraviolet (UV) light to treat psoriasis.


Symptoms and Indicators of Penile Cancer


Penile cancer’s most prevalent symptom is penis skin changes. They can appear on the foreskin, the penis tip (the glans), or the shaft of uncircumcised men.


Penile cancer symptoms include:


  • Variations in skin thickness or hue


  • A rash or tiny, crusty pimples on the penis; can resemble an open sore.


  • Growths with a bluish-brown hue


  • A growth on the penis


  • A foul-smelling discharge below the foreskin


  • A blemish on the penis that may bleed.


  • An enlargement at the end of your penis


  • Lumps beneath your groin skin


These symptoms may not always indicate penile cancer. You could be experiencing an infection or an allergic reaction. However, it is crucial to inform your doctor immediately if you experience any strange symptoms on or near your penis.


Penile Cancer Diagnosis


Your physician will conduct a physical examination and inquire about your symptoms. They may prescribe additional tests, including:


A biopsy. Your doctor obtains a tiny tissue sample from a penis skin lesion. It is examined in the laboratory for cancerous cells.


X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and magnetic resonance imaging are imaging tests (MRI). These examine your body for tumors and other indicators of cancer’s spread.


Penile Cancer Therapy


If your cancer is in its early stages, you may receive the following treatments:


A topical medicine in the form of a cream


Cryotherapy is a technique that uses extremely cold liquids or devices to freeze and destroy malignant tissue.


Mohs surgery, in which physicians remove layers of diseased skin until they reach healthy tissue.


Lasers for cutting and destroying cancerous regions


In circumcision, the foreskin is surgically removed. This surgery would be performed if only the foreskin was affected by cancer.


If your cancer is more advanced or more prone to spread, you may also have the following:


If your cancer has progressed to your groin, you will undergo surgery to remove some or all of the lymph nodes in your groin.


Radiation and/or chemotherapy to eliminate cancer cells from the body


A penectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of the penis.


Most therapies for penile cancer in its early stages do not compromise sexual function, but chemotherapy and radiation may. Consult your physician regarding possible side effects.



Is penile cancer contagious? May I share it with others?


Until recently, penile cancer was primarily believed to result from chemical irritation. Therefore, there was no concern regarding its transmission. However, recent research links HPV to both penile and cervical malignancies. These tumors appear to be more prevalent in the spouses of individuals with this sexually transmitted disease. Even though penile cancer is not contagious, if you or your partner have HPV, you should use a condom during sexual activity. Additionally, you should be mindful of any lesions. Women should undergo cervical exams frequently. It is essential to eradicate or reduce the infection. It’s also crucial to discuss the link between HPV and penile cancer with your urologist.


Will I be unable to stand to urinate if I get penis surgery?


If your cancer is detected early, the necessary surgery should not impede your ability to urinate while standing. Surgery required to treat advanced cancer may require you to urinate while seated.


Will the treatment impair my sexual ability?


Early detection and modest surgery should not hinder normal sexual activity. However, more extensive operations might.


Should all boys be circumcised immediately after birth to prevent penile tumors?


This issue is the subject of considerable debate. Studies indicate that circumcised men had a decreased risk of urinary tract infections and penile cancer. With their child’s physician, parents should explore the risks and benefits of circumcision.


If a boy is not circumcised at birth, will circumcision as a teenager or young adult protect him from penile cancer?


Circumcision shortly after birth offers the best protection against developing penile cancer in the future. A treatment performed on young adults has a diminished protective effect.


For instance, penile cancer is extremely uncommon among Jewish males, for whom circumcision at birth is the standard practice. Penile cancer is more prevalent among Muslim guys, whose recognized puberty ritual involves circumcision. In general, it is less prevalent in circumcised men than in uncircumcised men.


Penile cancer is uncommon, but its signs are frequently apparent. If you or a loved one has lately experienced these symptoms, tell him to seek medical attention immediately. This will boost his chances of survival if it is done sooner. Early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes.


Check out our online page on diagnosis for more information about penile cancer symptoms, treatment options, and what you can do to help discover a cure.

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