Penile cancer, otherwise known as cancer of the penis, is uncommon but by no means obsolete. It develops when cancer cells form in the tissue of the penis and is brought on from malignant tumors that formed in the penis. Since penile cancer forms in the tissue of the penis, circumcision can reduce the chance of getting the disease altogether while various forms of radiation therapy can help to prevent additional growth of cancerous cells. Are you at risk? If you have HPV, it’s important to get tested for penile cancer as soon as you detect an abnormality. Risk factors include smoking, being over the age of 60, multiple sexual partners and poor hygiene habits. That being said, it’s important to know that no matter what lifestyle you lead, detected early enough it’s not fatal and can be treated with surgery, circumcision, chemotherapy or radioactive therapy.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Paying attention to your body is one of the key ingredients for early detection. Be aware of that area of your body and just as women need to examine their breasts for lumps, men need to examine their penis for any visible abnormalities as well. Contact your doctor if you discover warts, blisters that can/cannot be painful; discharge with noticeable odor; fatigue, stomach pain or noticeable weight loss; change of color in the penis itself or of the foreskin; pain in the stomach or bleeding. Regardless of whether these symptoms result in a penile cancer diagnosis, it’s important to get checked out and keep your body in good physical shape.
Stages of Penile Cancer and Treatment Options
If you are diagnosed with penile cancer, you’ll learn about some crucial information about your diagnosis such as what stage of cancer you have and available treatment options based on the given stage. Early detection is important in order to prevent spreading and advancement of the disease but regardless of when you are diagnosed, treatment is available. A CAT scan will be conducted to see whether or not the cancer has spread into other parts of the body or been confined to the penis region.
Understanding Stages of Penile Cancer
There are four stages of penile cancer, stage I being a result of early detection and stage IV being advanced. Stage 0 occurs when cancer cells are found on the skin of the penis whereas stage I cancer develops and is discovered under the skin of the penis by connective tissue. Stage II is a bit more advanced with cancer having spread to a lymph node in the groin area while stage III cancer has spread to more than one lymph node in the groin or in the urethra or prostate. The last stage, stage IV spreads to more than one lymph node in the groin as well as other parts of the body.
Things to Know
If you’re diagnosed with penile cancer, you have treatment options available to you. One of the most common treatment methods, chemotherapy, is successfully used by killing the cancer cells while radioactive therapy uses radiation to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Know your body by keeping tabs on any abnormalities of the skin, lumps felt in or around the penis and early detection can help to eliminate a high risk situation for everyone.