Penile cancer can develop due to cells on or in the penis mutating, and without prompt treatment, this type of cancer can quickly spread into the surrounding tissues. The cause of penile cancer is not yet fully understood, but researchers believe there are some risk factors that can increase your chance of developing this type of cancer. These risk factors include smoking, having the human papillomavirus, having a weakened immune system and being in the elderly population category. Being aware of the signs of penile cancer can help ensure it's diagnosed early, so here's an overview of the signs and the treatment options available.
Signs Of Penile Cancer
Common early signs of penile cancer include a change in the colour or thickness of the skin covering the penis, swelling at the tip of the penis and the development of sores, which may look like small lesions with crusts. You may also develop a rash and a foul-smelling discharge. Abnormal growths can develop around the penis, and these tend to have a blueish hue to them. If you have any of these symptoms, don't panic. They can also be signs of an infection, so it's best to get a formal diagnosis before thinking the worst.
Treating Penile Cancer
Penile cancer is diagnosed with a biopsy and diagnostic imaging to determine whether cancerous cells have spread to other parts of your body. Once diagnosed, your doctor will outline their treatment recommendation. If penile cancer is diagnosed early and there are no signs of it spreading, it can be treated with cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the affected tissue and destroy the cancerous cells. If cancerous cells are only present on your foreskin, circumcision can be an effective treatment. When cancerous cells are found in several layers of the skin covering your penis, surgery to remove the affected layers of skin may be necessary. When cancerous cells are found deep within your penis, some of or all of your penis may need to be surgically removed. When cancerous cells are found in the surrounding tissues, chemotherapy or radiation therapy will be required.
The thought of talking to your doctor about the health of your penis may fill you with dread, but don't let a little embarrassment get in the way of you getting a formal diagnosis and accessing potentially life-saving treatment. If you have any of the signs of penile cancer, speak to your men's health doctor right away.