Cancer Research UK said 95% of penile cancers develop from slow growing squamous cell carcinomas so catching penile cancer early is key to recovery, yet many men don’t know the sings to look out for.
Signs and symptoms of penile cancer
You should be aware of any abnormalities or signs of penile cancer, including:
1. A growth or sore on the penis that doesn’t heal within four weeks
2. Bleeding from the penis or from under the foreskin
3. A foul smelling discharge
4. Thickening of the skin of the penis or foreskin that makes it difficult to draw back the foreskin (phimosis)
5. A Change in the colour of the skin of the penis or foreskin
6. A rash on the penis
If you experience these symptoms, it’s important that they’re checked by your GP as soon as possible.
It’s unlikely they’ll be caused by cancer of the penis, but they need to be investigated.
What causes penile cancer?
The cause of penile cancer isn’t known, but certain risk factors can increase your chances of getting it, including the following:
1. Men who carry the human papilloma virus (HPV)
2. Age is also a risk factor for cancer of the penis – it’s more common in men over 60
3. Smoking is the most significant lifestyle factor associated with penile cancer
4. If you suffer from conditions that affect the penis, such as phimosis
How is penile cancer diagnosed?
Your GP will ask you about any symptoms you have and when they occur. They’ll also examine your penis for signs of penile cancer.
If they suspect penile cancer, they may refer you to a specialist – usually a urologist.
The specialist will ask about your symptoms, they may also take a blood test and carry out a biopsy.
How is penile cancer treated?
In cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), where only the skin cells of the penis are affected, patients will be treated using chemotherapy cream or laser surgery.
The main treatments for more advanced penile cancer are:
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