Penile cancer is thankfully rare, but it can and does affect a small number of men every year. Therefore, it is important to understand the risk factors that can increase a man’s chances of developing this potentially deadly disease. The issues that are most commonly linked with penile cancer are described below, along with the appropriate penis care and lifestyle choices that can help men reduce the risk of developing cancerous tumors.
1. Human papilloma virus. Men who have been exposed to human papilloma virus (HPV), a contagious disease that can cause genital warts, are at greater risk for developing penile cancer later in life. To avoid exposure to the virus, vaccination against HPV is strongly urged by many health care professionals. Only men who receive the vaccine before the age of 26 are protected, and it is best to have boys vaccinated in their early teens, before they become sexually active. At the very least, all men should use barrier protection for every sexual encounter to limit their risk of exposure.
2. Smoking. Smoking tobacco products exposes the body to numerous cancer-causing chemicals. These can affect all parts of the body, not just the mouth and lungs; quitting smoking is critical in preventing many different health problems, including cancer of the penis.
3. Smegma. The cheesy substance that tends to accumulate underneath the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis can cause irritation and inflammation if it is not regularly removed. This inflammation is known as balanitis, a condition which has been linked to a greater risk of penile cancer. Men who are uncircumcised should carefully clean the smegma from under the foreskin every day using warm water and a mild cleanser. The foreskin should never be forced back, however, so if there is any difficulty retracting it, this should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
4. Uncircumcision. Men who are not circumcised, particularly in developing countries, have a greater chance of developing cancerous tumors. However, while circumcision may reduce the risk in some men, maintaining adequate hygiene may be preferred; circumcision should not be taken lightly and is a matter to be considered carefully by a man and his doctor.
5. Phimosis. Men who have had issues with phimosis, where the foreskin is difficult to roll back over the head of the penis, may have a greater risk of penile cancer. Frequent occurrences of phimosis may warrant full or partial circumcision to prevent ongoing problems with penile health.
6. Psoriasis treatment. Individuals who suffer from psoriasis are sometimes treated with UV rays, as well as various medications. UV treatments, like exposure to the sun, can increase the risk for cancer. Men who have psoriasis on their penile skin may want to discuss alternative types of treatment with their doctor.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, and even men who are careful about their overall health may still be at risk. Therefore, regular inspection of the penile skin for any signs of changes that could indicate cancer is necessary. Men should closely examine their penis skin for any unusual spots, bumps or lesions. Successful treatment of cancer depends largely on early detection, so men should waste no time in having these evaluated by a doctor. As an added measure, many men choose to use a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) to provide nutrient support for the penile tissue. A formula that is enriched with antioxidants like vitamins C and E is a good choice, as these elements can help fight the free radicals that can cause the cellular damage that may lead to cancer.