Penile cancer is relatively rare, but according to research, incidence of cancer of the penis has increased by 20% over the last few decades. There are several potential reasons for this alarming statistic, and men’s sexual health may play a role. In order to avoid the long-term complications of cancer, all men should be aware of the connection to sexual health. In addition, they should pay close attention to proper penis care, making it a priority in their daily routine.
Why is penis cancer becoming more prevalent?
Researchers are not completely sure why this is the case. There are several possibilities. These include more accurate diagnosis of symptoms; the fact that men are living longer and are thus more likely to develop some form of cancer over a lifetime; and the fact that men may be engaging in risky sexual behavior that can lead to cancer over the long term.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Cancer of the penis may be characterized by any of the following:
- Bumps or warts;
- Change in color;
- A foul-smelling discharge;
- Difficulty retracting the foreskin.
Men who notice these symptoms should keep in mind that many other conditions, most of them minor, may have a similar presentation, so it is best not to panic and assume the worst. On the other hand, it is very important to get them checked out to ensure proper treatment.
The most common risk factors for penile cancer include smoking, family history, and exposure to HPV, or human papillomavirus (a disease spread by sexual contact). Because of the HPV-cancer connection, doctors generally recommend that boys be vaccinated in their early teens, before they become sexually active. Vaccination later in life, especially after a man becomes active, will not provide immunity.
Penis care for long-term health and quality of life
As with other forms of cancer, there is no bullet-proof solution to avoiding this potentially deadly disease. However, men can greatly reduce their chances of developing tumors in the area by following some common-sense guidelines:
1. Practice good hygiene. Men who are uncut have a slightly greater chance of developing cancerous lesions, due to an increased risk of developing infections. Washing the area carefully and gently removing any built-up material underneath the foreskin can help to keep the area clean and reduce the chances of developing infections. All men should wash the private area carefully at least once every day.
2. Practice safe sex. Because cancer of the penis has been linked to the HPV virus, which is easily transmitted between sexual partners, men should be sure to use barrier protection such as a condom for each and every encounter. Even if neither partner has symptoms of HPV, the virus can be present in a dormant state for years; this also means that men should use protection in a monogamous relationship unless both partners have been given a clean bill of health.
3. Get tested regularly. Ideally, all men who are sexually active should be tested approximately every six months for sexually transmitted infections. Early detection and treatment of numerous types of STIs are crucial in the fight against penile cancer.
4. Perform monthly self-exams. The majority of cancerous tumors are detected by men themselves. Conducting a monthly self-exam, looking out for any unusual bumps, lesions, warts or other changes to the skin. While any of these symptoms can occur for a variety of other reasons, anything unusual warrants a trip to the doctor for evaluation.
5. Use a penis nutrient cream. A formula that is enriched with powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid may offer extra protection against damage to the penile tissue. A top-notch penis nutrient cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) is also indicated for maintaining smooth, healthy penile tissue and an overall youthful and vibrant appearance.