- By Dr Vikas Singh,
M.B.B.S., M.S., M.Ch.
Urologist, Genito Uro Oncologist and Kidney Transplant Surgeon,
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore.
Penile cancer is a rare disease that affects the tissues of the penis. It is estimated that about 1 in 100,000 men will develop this cancer in their lifetime. Due to the rarity of the disease, many people have questions and concerns about it. In this article, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions about penile cancer and provide answers to help you better understand this condition.
What is penile cancer, and what are its causes?
Penile cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the penis. The exact cause of penile cancer is unknown, but certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease. These risk factors include smoking, poor hygiene, having a history of genital warts, and being uncircumcised.
What are the symptoms of penile cancer?
The symptoms of penile cancer can vary depending on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, there may be no symptoms at all. As the cancer progresses, symptoms may include:
A lump or growth on the penis
A sore or ulcer that does not heal
Bleeding or discharge from the penis
Changes in the color or texture of the skin on the penis
Swelling in the groin area
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for evaluation.
How is penile cancer diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you may have penile cancer, they will likely order a biopsy. During a biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed from the affected area and sent to a laboratory for testing. The results of the biopsy can confirm whether or not cancer is present and, if so, determine the type of cancer.
What are the treatment options for penile cancer?
The treatment options for penile cancer depend on the stage of the cancer and the patient's overall health. Surgery is the most common treatment for penile cancer. The surgeon may remove part or all of the penis, depending on the extent of the cancer. In some cases, the surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes in the groin to check for cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is another treatment option for penile cancer. It involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is usually used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery to shrink the tumor or to kill any remaining cancer cells.
What is the success rate for treating penile cancer?
The success rate for treating penile cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and the type of treatment used. If the cancer is caught early, the success rate is higher. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for all stages of penile cancer is around 65%.
What are the side effects of penile cancer treatment?
The side effects of penile cancer treatment depend on the type of treatment used. Surgery may cause pain, swelling, and infection. If part or all of the penis is removed, the patient may have difficulty urinating, having sex, or ejaculating.
Radiation therapy may cause fatigue, skin irritation, and urinary problems. Chemotherapy may cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and weakened immune system.
Can penile cancer be prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent penile cancer, but there are some things that may lower the risk. These include practicing good hygiene, using protection during sex, and not smoking. Getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) may also lower the risk of developing penile cancer.
What is the recovery process like after penile cancer treatment?
The recovery process after penile cancer treatment depends on the type of treatment used and the extent of the cancer. After surgery, the patient may need to stay in the hospital for a few days or weeks to recover. The patient may need to take pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.
After radiation therapy, the patient may experience fatigue and skin irritation. It may take several weeks or months for the patient to feel normal again.
After chemotherapy, the patient may need to rest and avoid contact with people who are sick. The patient may also need to take medication to prevent infections.
Will penile cancer affect my sex life?
Penile cancer and its treatment may affect the patient's sex life. If part or all of the penis is removed, the patient may have difficulty having sex or ejaculating. The patient may also experience a loss of sensation or pleasure during sex. It is important to talk to the doctor about any concerns or questions about sex after penile cancer treatment.
What is the follow-up care after penile cancer treatment?
After penile cancer treatment, the patient will need to have regular follow-up visits with the doctor to monitor for any signs of recurrence.