Penile cancer warning – does your penis look like this? Signs and symptoms revealed
- Penile cancer symptoms include flat growths and changing colour of skin
- A thickening of the skin or foul-smelling discharge could also be signs of the disease
- Speak to a doctor if you find any symptoms of penile cancer
- The doctor may carry out an examination of the penis and groin
Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer that mainly affects men over 50 years old.
There are around two new confirmed cases of the cancer reported every day in the UK.
Everyone should be aware of any abnormal changes to their penis, urged the NHS.
Finding a growth or sore on the penis could be a warning sign of the deadly condition.
The growth usually appears flat, added charity Macmillan Cancer Support.
Thickening of the skin or having a foul-smelling discharge could also be a warning sign of penile cancer, it warned.
Other symptoms of penile cancer include a change in colour of the skin on the penis, or having a rash on the penis.
“These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but it is best to get them checked by your GP,” said the charity.
“If they think your symptoms may be caused by cancer, you will be referred to a hospital specialist.
“The specialist will examine your penis and groin. They may take a tissue sample [biopsy] to be tested. You may also have tests such as a CT or MRI scan.”
Diagnosing penile cancer early is crucial, as any delay can lower the risk of successful treatment.
If the cancer is relatively small, it may be able to be treated with chemotherapy cream.
But larger tumours may require surgery to completely get rid of them. Rest assured, it’s usually possible to preserve the appearance of the penis, it added.
The NHS said: “Surgery involves removing the cancerous cells and possibly some of the surrounding tissue.
“In most cases, any physical changes to your penis after an operation can be corrected with reconstructive surgery.”
The exact cause of penile cancer isn’t known, but you’re more likely to develop the condition if you’re a smoker.
The chemicals found in cigarettes can damage the cells on the penis, which increases the risk of penile cancer.
You could also be at risk of the cancer if you carry the human papilloma virus (HPV), said the NHS.
HPV is the name for a group of viruses that affect the skin, and there are more than 100 different types of HPV.
Speak to a GP if you’re worried about the symptoms of penile cancer, or if you have sores that don’t heal.