90% chance of survival if found early
Only 3 out of every 1,000 Cancers diagnosed in men in the UK are Penile Cancer.
Penile Cancer (yes, that’s Cancer of the Penis) is a rare type of Cancer found in the skin or tissues of the penis. Only 3 out of every 1,000 Cancers diagnosed in men in the UK are Penile Cancer.
Dealing with general issues with your body can make you feel a bit uncomfortable, let alone issues related to your sexual organs. So let’s clear something up straight off the bat, Penile Cancer does not make you any less of a man.
And if you want the best shot at beating it, then try and find it early, as in cases when it’s caught early the chances of curing it are very high. This will also mean that the treatment is likely be far less severe.
Cancer can develop anywhere on the penis but it most commonly forms either under the foreskin (in men who haven’t been circumcised) or on the head of the penis.
500 new cases of Penile Cancer diagnosed in the UK each year
60+ is the most common age group for Penile, it rarely affects men under 40
90% chance of surviving at least 5 years if caught in the very earliest stage
20% rise of Penile Cancers in England between 1979 and 2009
What causes Penile Cancer? The simple answer is no one knows exactly.
But there are some factors known to increase the chances of you developing it. These include:
- The HPV virus (which causes genital warts)
- Repeated STI infections
So, if you want to help protect your junk, stub out that cigarette, and when you get down to business make sure to wrap it up.
Circumcision has also been found to lower the risk of developing Penile Cancer, particularly if you’ve been circumcised as a baby. If you get the snip as a teenager, you’ll also have a lower risk of Penile Cancer. However, getting circumcised as an adult doesn’t appear to make any difference to a man’s risk of Penile Cancer (so if you haven’t been circumcised, don’t try getting the scissors out now).
It’s worth being familiar with your penis (as we’re sure you already are) so you can spot any changes and notice when something’s not normal for you.
Symptoms of Penile Cancer can be seen on the skin of the penis and can include:
- A sore, growth or lump on the penis that doesn’t heal within 4 weeks (this might not be painful)
- Bleeding from the penis or from under the foreskin
- A change of skin colour of the penis or foreskin
- A foul smelling discharge
- A rash
- Difficulty drawing back the foreskin
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t put off going to visit the doctor, as this could reduce your chances of getting treated successfully. These symptoms don’t always mean Penile Cancer, they could be related to an STI or other condition – but you should always get these checked out too. We recommend regular check-ups for STIs anyway, this way the doctor will also spot any early signs of Penile Cancer too.
You should be giving yourself a thorough check for Testicular Cancer at least once a month, so this would be a good time to also give your penis a close inspection too.
If you find anything unusual, visit your GP – they will then examine you and refer you to a specialist if necessary.
We know the idea of having a stranger getting too close down there isn’t the way most of us want to spend our day, but it’s much better than the alternative if you just ignore the symptoms and let them fester. (Trust us, you don’t have anything the doctor hasn’t seen before – it’s just another day at the office for them).