Penis cancer is not common, especially in developed countries. In the United States, for instance, about 1 in 1500 men may develop symptoms, while in Asia, Africa and South America, about 10% of men may be affected. With that said, there are certain risk factors associated with the disease, and men should be aware of the risks, as well as understanding the warning signs and knowing when to get help.
In addition, men can take steps to reduce their risk of developing cancerous lesions by exercising appropriate penis care, including proper hygiene, self-checks and regular physical exams.
What is penile cancer?
Penis cancer is a malignancy of the penile skin or underlying tissue. Cancer of the penis is far more prevalent in older men; while men under the age of forty may develop cancerous tumors, the majority of cases occur in men who are fifty and older.
What are the common warning signs and symptoms?
The following signs may indicate penis cancer. However, it is important to note that any or all of these symptoms are also symptomatic of other health conditions ranging from minor skin infections to STDs. Self-diagnosis is never a good idea; men who notice any of these should seek a professional medical opinion.
1. Redness of the penile skin;
2. Skin rash on the penis;
3. Pain in the shaft or head;
4. A foul-smelling discharge;
5. Bleeding of the penis;
6. Phimosis/paraphimosis (inability to retract the foreskin or to restore it to its original position);
7. Unusual growths or sores that resemble warts or blisters, especially those that do not heal on their own after several weeks.
Risk factors for developing penis cancer
* Human papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV, a common virus that may be transmitted by a partner, may increase the risk for developing cancerous tumors;
* AIDS – Acquired immune deficiency syndrome increases the risk of developing a wide range of health issues, including cancer of the penis;
* Balanitis – Men who develop infections of the penis/foreskin are at increased risk for cancer;
* Being uncircumcised – There is some evidence that circumcision in infancy or childhood reduces the risk of penile cancer; circumcision in adulthood does not have the same effect;
* Smegma – The presence of a whitish material which consists of dead skin cells, body oils and other matter under the foreskin has been associated with penis cancer. The increased risk is likely due to the irritation caused by the substance, rather than the makeup of the material;
* Smoking – Smoking or chewing tobacco greatly increases the risk for developing several types of cancer, including cancer of the penile tissue;
* Phimosis/paraphimosis – The inability to retract the foreskin fully or to restore it to its original position has been linked to cancer. These conditions can also be symptomatic of a malignancy.
How to promote penis health and reduce the risk of cancer
While there is no magic bullet when it comes to avoiding cancer, there are plenty of self-care steps that men can take in terms of reducing their risk of life-threatening illness, including penile carcinoma. Making healthy lifestyle choices such as following good nutritional habits, exercising, and reducing daily stress can help to stave off a wide range of health issues and keep the immune system functioning at an appropriate level. Quitting smoking, avoiding illicit substances and practicing safe sex through use of a condom are also urged in the fight against cancer.
Men can protect their penis and promote the growth of healthy tissue by applying a high-quality penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) that is rich in vitamins, proteins, and disease-fighting antioxidants. A cream containing all-natural moisturizers can help to keep the skin smooth and resilient, not to mention more responsive to erotic touch.