What is actually called penile cancer?
Penile cancer may be defined as a rather rare type of cancer that negatively influences the tissues and skin of the penis. It appears when penis cells turn into cancerous ones, start to grow intensively and end up forming a neoplasm. Unfortunately, penile cancer has a tendency to disseminate to other body parts and lead to the cancer of glands, lymphatic nodes and another ones. Every year in the US there are approximately 1300 patients who experience cancer of the penis.
How can you reveal penile cancer: the main signs
The most commonly widespread evidence of penile cancer is the occurrence of a lump or ulcer on the penis. It may resemble a big infection combined with sore or a small bump. Most likely it will be situated on the head or foreskin of the penis instead of on its shaft. But still there are some different symptoms of experiencing this condition:
- Itching and feeling of burning of the penile skin;
- Alterings in the colour of the penis;
- Redness and overall irritation;
- Various discharge and change in thickness of penile skin;
- Swelling in the groin.
If you are facing any of the symptoms listed about, it’s crucial to consult the doctor. To be successfully treated is possible only when the initial symptoms are noticed on time.
Who is at risk of having cancer of the penis?
It is interesting that males whose permanent place of living is located in Africa, Asia and South America have greater risk of getting penile cancer. The number between ten and twenty out of total amount of 100 000 men experiences such issue each year in the places listed above. Moreover, the men who didn’t undergo circumcision, have greater chances to get such diagnosis. It happens because circumcision at some degree prevents males from the rather dangerous conditions, called smegma and phimosis. Phimosis may be described as an issue when it’s hard to pull back the penile foreskin because it becomes too tight. Consequently, if a male faces phimosis, he’ll probably be diagnosed with smegma, which looks like a substance that contains the dead skin cells, oil and moisture below the penile foreskin. The condition may also occur when men don’t stick to the necessary hygiene especially speaking about the cleaning of the penile foreskin.
There are also some more risk factors for having the condition:
- Being over 60 years old;
- Strong addiction to smoking;
- Lack of sticking to general personal hygiene;
- Having accommodation in a dirty place with no necessary sanitation;
- Having plenty of partners in sexual life;
- Being the carrier of some infection, that is sexually transmitted, for instance the HPV (human papillomavirus).
The methods to reveal the penile cancer?
Such threatening diagnosis as cancer of the penis may be stuck to you only after having done some necessary check-ups and trial tests in the lab.
During the regular physical check-up the doctor will examine your penis and reveal any bumps and sores if they have already shown up. If the case is a cancer, the doctor will offer to make a biopsy, which means the removal of some tissue out of the penis. The piece is thoroughly analyzed afterwards to see if there are any cancerous cells or not. If the biopsy demonstrated positive results, the next step will be cystoscopy which main function is to suggest the spreading of the cancerous cells. That procedure is done by means of the instrument under the denomination cystoscope. It is a pretty thin tube that includes a camera and a light at the end of it. When undergoing the procedure, you will feel the distension of the penis and the doctor will put the cystoscope in it and through the bladder. The procedure makes it possible to look closer inside the penis and find out if the cancerous cells started to grow out or not.
Sometimes there appears a necessity to undergo an MRI to be definitely sure of spreading the cancer cells or exclude such negative fact.
Penile cancer: introducing the stages
The stages of penile cancer are six in number and each one shows how far the cancer has already spread. According to the results of the tests performed your doctor will inform you what stage you are facing right now. It is going to help in choosing the treatment method and to evaluate overall chances to recover and avoid the dangerous complications. The criteria of stages are shown in the table below.