of the penis sometimes undergo changes that make
their way to abnormal growth or behavior. These changes can cause non-cancerous
conditions (such as genital warts) or cancerous.
cancer is a
malignant tumor that originates in any of
the tissues of the penis: skin, nerves, smooth muscle or blood vessels. Cancer of the
penis is a cancerous growth that
tends to spread rapidly to other parts of the body to form
new malignant tumor (metastasis).
Penile cancer is considered as one of sexually
transmitted cancers after liver
cancer (caused sometimes by hepatitis B), Kaposi's sarcoma (often found in
AIDSpatients), cervical cancer (which can be caused by HPV).
The cancer usually develops in the flat, thin cells
called squamous cells. These cells are found
in the skin and the head of the penis(glans). These
types of cancer are called epidermoid carcinoma
of the penis. The tumor can appear on any
part of the penis, but most
often occurs on the foreskin(prepuce)or the
Other rare types of penile cancers
may also occur: adenocarcinoma, melanoma or basal cell carcinoma of the penis, for example.
Penile Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
substance which increases possibility of developing cancer is a risk factor that should be avoided as long as it is possible. As
the case of many malignant tumors, there is no known single cause
of penile cancer. Most cancers are due to many risk factors. However, some
men diagnosed with the disease have no identifiable
have been shown to increase the risk of being diagnosed
with penile cancer:
- Although penile cancer can occur at any age, the
risk of having it increases with age. This
cancer affects mostly men aged
over 60 years.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) – it is shown a link
between infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and cancer of the penis. HPV
is easily transmitted when there is skin on skin contact with
any infected area of the body. The virus
spreads mainly through sexual
contact. Men with penile cancer often report having had genital warts.
HPV virus, especially HPV 16
and HPV 18, are at higher risk to be likely diagnosed with penile cancer.
However, it is not clearly known the
role that these viruses may have in the development of the disease.
Phimosis – This condition
can cause the foreskin of uncircumcised men to tighten and unable to
be fully retracted over the
glans penis. This
disorder makes cleaning the penis more difficult
and could lead to infections
or chronic inflammation. A man
with phimosis is more likely to be diagnosed with penile cancer.
Poor Genital Hygiene - poor
genital hygiene may increase the chance of a man to have penile cancer. In uncircumcised men, secretions or cheesy sebaceous
the foreskin causing a condition called smegma, irritation and chronic
inflammation of the penis. Some
studies suggest that smegma may
contain substances that cause cancer, but more
conclusive evidences are needed.
Being Uncircumcised -
When a man is circumcised, the foreskin of the penis
is removed causing the penis to stay clean easier. The incidence
of this cancer appears to be lower in
men who were circumcised when they were infants
or children. Circumcision
practiced in adulthood did
not seem to offer protection against the cancer.
Weakened Immune System - Weakening of the immune system may increase the risk of penile cancer and different types of other cancers,
the fact that weakened immune system can reduce
the body's ability to defend
against infections. The immune system can be
severely weakened due to the following reasons (and others):
Immunosuppressantdrugs: medications that
suppress the immune system and
are used to prevent rejection after
Certain Conditions: HIV/AIDS have higher risk of developing many types of
constantly under stress.
Smoking – Cigarette smoking
can increase the risk of penile cancer. This risk appears to be highest among
men who smoke lot cigarettes daily and for many years. Researchers believe that
chemicals in cigarettes that cause
cancer can damage the DNA of cells
of the penis and thus increase the risk of development of malignancy in its tissue.
Psoriasis Treatment -
Psoriasis is a skin condition which changes
the life cycle of skin cells
Treatment may include taking the drug called
(also called psoralene)
followed by exposure of the
skin of the affected area
to ultraviolet light (PUVA therapy). Men who received this treatment are more likely to be diagnosed
with penile cancer.
Penile Cancer Warning Signs and Symptoms