Penile Cancer

Feb 19, 2015 0 Comments in General Medical Posts by
Penile Cancer

Penile Cancer

Penis has a number of tissues, blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Sometimes abnormal growths may develop on the penis that may or may not be cancerous. Penis cancer is caused by the growth of malignant cells in the penis tissues. When normal cells change, they tend to grow uncontrollably. The uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells results in the formation of a mass, known as malignant tumor.

When a tumor is malignant, there is a high risk of the cancerous growth spreading to other parts of the body. This type of cancer often occurs in uncircumcised men. The removal of foreskin of the penis, circumcision reduces the risk of penile cancer. Different types of penis cancer can develop in different cells. The differences help determine the severity of the cancer. A majority of penile cancers are known to start in its skin cells.

Reconstructive Surgery ImageStage 0

Abnormal cells are found only on the surface of the penile skin. At this stage, these abnormal cells may not be malignant, but gradually they may become cancerous and spread to other parts.

Stage I

In this stage, the cells become cancerous and spread to connective tissue in the penis.

Stage II

Cancer affects the connective tissue and one lymph node in the groin. The cancerous cells may also spread to erectile tissue and one lymph node.

Stage III

Cancer affects connective tissue or erectile tissue and both sides of the groin. It may also spread to the urethra and one or more lymph nodes on either or both sides of the groin.

Stage IV

The tissues near the penis are affected. The cancer may also affect lymph nodes in the pelvis or spread to distant parts of the body.

Recurrent Penile Cancer

In some patients, cancer that was treated earlier might recur.

Penile Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Penile Erythematous Lesions IMageAlmost half of such cases are caused by human papillomavirus infection. However, HPV is not known to affect men with a circumcised penis. This means circumcision may prevent the risk of cancer from HPV infection in men.

Risk factors include

– Age above 60 years

– Human papillomavirus infection

– Poor hygiene

– Phimosis

– Tobacco use

– More than one sexual partner

Bleeding, discharge, redness, swelling, sores, irritation, or a lump on the penis are some of the more common signs of cancer of this male sexual organ. A physical examination of the body, including the penis, can help check possible signs of disease. The doctor may also take into consideration the patient’s medical history, hygiene habits, and past illnesses and treatments. He may perform a biopsy, which involves removal of the affected cells/tissues to diagnose penile cancer. The cells are viewed under a microscope to determine the possible signs of cancer.

Cancer may spread in the body:

– Through the blood, which means cancerous cells enter veins and capillaries and use the blood as a medium to travel to other parts.

– Through the lymph system, meaning the cancerous growth spreads to the lymph system, from where the abnormal cells travel to other parts through lymph vessels.

– Through tissue, which means cancerous cells invade the surrounding tissues.

Treatments for Penile Cancer

Prognosis and treatment often depends on the stage of cancer, size and location of the tumor. It is also important to consider whether the cancer has recurred. Staging is the process that helps the doctor diagnose if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer is still in the penis and hasn’t affected any other parts, it means it’s still the initial stage. The doctor may perform a CT scan, ultrasound, and MRI to find the extent to which the cancer has spread.

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the common forms of penile cancer treatments, depending on the stage.