Penile cancer is relatively rare, especially in industrialized countries; however, it can and does occur. Therefore, as part of a man’s overall approach to penis care, he should be aware of the following signs and symptoms. These symptoms can also be related to other, less serious health issues, but it is always important to be sure; therefore, men who develop any of these should bring them to the attention of their health care provider. Furthermore, because cancer may also occur without any visible symptoms, at least in the early stages, men should be sure to schedule a regular physical exam.
Signs that could indicate penile cancer:
1. Sores or growths on the penis; these appear more commonly on the glans with cancer, but may also develop on the shaft;
2. Changes in the color of the penile skin (not related to bruising or temporary redness);
3. Thickening of the skin or changes in its texture;
4. A persistent, foul-smelling discharge from underneath the foreskin;
5. Bleeding from the tip of the penis or from underneath the foreskin;
6. A red rash or crusty bumps underneath the foreskin;
7. Swelling at the end of the penis;
8. Pain in the shaft or glans that develops for no obvious reason, such as injury or vigorous sexual activity;
9. The appearance of irregular lesions, or growths on the penis or under the foreskin that are bluish in color;
10. Swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin – this may be felt as soreness or tenderness in the area.
Again, most of these symptoms can also be related to other, less serious conditions, so there is no need to panic if they do occur; but it is important to see a doctor for appropriate treatment, if needed.
What can men do to reduce their chances of developing penile cancer?
While it is not possible to completely eliminate the chances of developing penile cancer symptoms, men can take the following steps to significantly reduce the risk:
Stop smoking. Smoking is severely damaging to all parts of the body, and the penis is no exception. Kicking the habit is one of the most important steps any man can take to improve his overall health and quality of life. Quitting is not easy, of course, but there are many support options available for any man’s individual needs.
Practice safe sex. Risky sexual behavior is also linked with an increased risk of cancer. At the very least, men should insist on using a condom for every encounter – no exceptions. Responsible men will also opt for a discussion with prospective partners about their past behaviors and any infections or other conditions that have affected their sexual health.
Get vaccinated. Men under the age of 26 should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus, which is also responsible for genital warts, has been linked to an increased risk of penile cancer. Ideally, boys should receive the vaccine before they become sexually active; after the age of 26, it is not effective.
Keep it clean. Hygiene is also closely linked to an increased risk for cancer, especially in men who are uncircumcised. It is vitally important to keep the area clean, paying close attention to cleaning away any built-up smegma under the foreskin on a daily basis. Neglect in this department can also lead to uncomfortable infections such as balanitis, not to mention unpleasant odors, so cleaning up should be part of every man’s self-care routine.
Use a penis health cream. A superior-quality penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) that is formulated with a blend of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants can support healthy function and repair of penile cells, as well as enhancing the body’s ability to resist the cellular changes that can lead to the development of cancerous lesions. Applying a quality product once or twice daily can also improve the overall look and feel of the penis skin – a benefit that men can enjoy immediately while the nutrients work to preserve long-term penile health.