The penis is a rod-like organ in men that expels urine and sperm from the body. It has tissues of two kinds (1)Corpus Spongiosum and (2) Corpora Cavernosa. When these tissues start containing cancerous cells then the disease is called penile cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors
- The first and foremost risk factor for penile cancer is an infection caused by the human papillomavirus
- Infection by this virus can be reduced a great deal by performing circumcision; circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis
- Men who are not circumcised, thus, are at a greater risk for the problem
- Cigarette smoking
- Multiple sex partners increase the risk of cancer
- Failure to maintain good hygiene is a significant risk factor
- Being affected by phimosis is a risk factor; phimosis is a health problem that arises when the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis
- Old age is another risk factor. Men above 60 years of age are more at risk
Symptoms of Penile Cancer
- A sore or lump on the penis
- Acute irritation and ruddiness
- Unexplained bleeding from the penis
- Unexplained discharge
Diagnosis of Penile Cancer
- Biopsy of the affected tissue
- General physical check-up
- Review of the patient’s personal hygiene routine and other health habits
- CT scan, Ultrasound, and MRI procedures to detect the spread of the disease
Stages of Penile Cancer
Penile cancer spreads in stage from stage zero to stage four. It starts with the occurrence of cancerous cells in the surface of the penile skin and then gradually spreads (if undetected and untreated) to the lymph node in the groin and to the pelvic region and eventually to other regions and glands of the body.
Treatment fo Penile Cancer
Treatment procedures for penile cancer depend on several factors like the patient’s general health condition and specific health issues, the size of the tumor and where it is situated, the stage of cancer, and whether the problem is a recurrence of an earlier illness.
a). Amputation: When the penis is removed to get rid of the malignant tumor. This is called total penectomy
b). The Moh’s Microsurgery involves a process wherein the tumor is surgically removed from the penis, layer by layer. Each removed layer is checked for cancer cells and the surgery is discontinued when the microscope shows no traces of cancerous cells in the just removed layer
c). Excision: When surgery involves the removal of cancerous tissue and normal tissue that surrounds the affected tissue
d). Cryosurgery: This technique involves exposing the affected tissue to freezing temperature, in order to destroy it
e). Laser surgery: A well-directed laser beam locates and destroys the cancerous cells
Even if the surgery to remove the cancerous cells is successful, some patients are asked to undergo chemotherapy treatment to kill any cancerous cells that may still have gone undetected in the penis
3. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy, like chemotherapy, is advised after surgery, in order to ascertain that all cancerous growth is destroyed.
When the treatment is tailored to help the patient’s immune system combat the onset of the problem, this is called biotherapy. For this, substances, either man-made (in the lab) or generated within the body, help revitalize the body’s immunity to cancer.