Penis CancerCancer » Penis Cancer
This is cancer that begins and grows in the penis. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of the abnormal cell sin the body. When this uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells occurs in the tissues of the penis or on the outside surface, it is called penis cancer. This condition is also known as penile cancer. The penis is part of the male reproductive system and urinary systems. Various types of tissue like the skin, the nerves, the smooth muscles and the blood vessels can be seen in the penis.
Cancer of the penis is a disease in which malignant cells originate in the tissues of the penis. Cancer of the penis is, fortunately, rare disease that is generally an aggressive form of cancer that has a tendency to spread. Men who are not circumcised at birth have a higher risk for developing cancer of the penis. If the penis does not look normal or if the doctor feels any lumps, a small sample of tissue (a biopsy) is removed from the penis and looked at under microscope to detect any cancer cells. If cancer of the penis is found, more tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread from the penis to other parts of the body (staging-hyperlinked).
Penis Cancer Causes
The cause of penis cancer is unknown but there is a higher incidence of penile cancer in uncircumcised men and men who do not keep the area under the foreskin clean. The presence of smegma, the cheese-like secretion under the foreskin, appears to increase the risk. Infection with human papilloma virus is a risk factor for cancer of the penis. Infection of HPV: HPV is a virus that is transmitted from skin to skin contact during sexual intercourse. It is very common virus and doesn't always prevent symptoms. HPV is also the leading cause of cervical cancer in women.
Smoking increases your risk factor for penile cancer.
Penis Cancer Types
The penis is made up of several different types of body tissues. The type of penis cancer you have depends on the type of cell the cancer developed from. Squamous cell cancer of the penis: This is by far the most common type of penile cancer. Squamous cell cancer can develop anywhere on the penis, but the most common sites are the:
- Head of the penis (glans).
- Foreskin (in uncircumcised men).
- Squamous cell are flat, skin like cells that cover the surface of the penis. This type of cancer usually grows slowly over many years.
- Epidremoid carcinoma.
- Verrucous carcinoma.
- Basal cell cancers.
Penis Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of the penile cancer are very clear and need to be avaluated by a physician.
- Redness, irritation, or a sore on the penis.
- A lump on the penis.
The first sign of penile cancer is usually a painless ulcer or growth on the penis, especially on the glans or the foreskin. A number of benign conditions, including genital warts and infections, may give similar symptoms to penile cancer. For this reason, it is very important to get a correct diagnosis as early as possible. The following tests and procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking the penis for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illness and treatments will also be taken.
- Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.
Penis Cancer Treatments
Surgery: Surgery is the most common, and elective, treatment foe penile cancer. The cancer is removed from the penis using one of the following methods:
- Laser surgery: This surgery uses a narrow beam of light to kill the cancer cells.
- Misrosurgery: This is used to remove the penile cancer and as little normal tissue as possible. During this surgery, the doctor uses a microscope to look at the cancerous area to make sure all the cancer cells are removed.
- Circumcision: This is used to remove the foreskin if the penis cancer is confined to this area.
- Wide location excision: This is used to removes only the penile cancer and some normal tissue on either side.
- Cryosurgery: A treatment that uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue. This type of treatment is also called cryotherapy.
- Amputation of the penis: Surgery to remove part or all of penis. If part of the penis is removed, it is a partial penectomy. If all of penis is removed, it is a total penectomy.
Surgery is used to remove part or all of penis. In a partial penectomy, the surgeon removes a portion of the penis without altering normal urinary function. In a total penectomy, the majority of the penis is removed. This then requires diversion of the urinary stream by creating a perineal urethrostomy so the bladder can be emptied without the need for a tube to drain it. Additionally, lymph nodes in the groin may be removed in an attempt to stage and cure the patient of the disease.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy (external or internal) also can be used to treat penile cancer by destroying the cancer cells and shrinking the tumor. Radiation may be used alone or after penile cancer surgery.
External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy: Fluorouracil cream, a chemotherapy drug put on the skin of the penis, is sometimes used for small superficial cancers of the penis. Chemotherapy also may be given by pill or intravenously as a form of systematic treatment that can travel through the body and can kill cancer cells that may have spread. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systematic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly on to the skin (topical chemotherapy) or into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Biologic therapy: This is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
Radiosensitizers: These are the drugs that make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy. Combining radiation therapy with radiosensitizers helps to kill more tumor cells.