Penile cancer is rare, so many patients are unfamiliar with the symptoms and risk factors. Being familiar with the symptoms and risk factors for penile cancer will allow for earlier detection and more successful treatment.
No one knows the exact causes of this disease. However, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop penile cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease. Studies have found the following risk factors for penile cancer:
- HPV Infection: The human papilloma virus is sexually transmitted and puts men at increased risk.
- Uncircumcised Penis: The reason for this is unknown, but may relate to the fact that men who have not undergone circumcision may be more likely to contract HPV.
- Age: Men age 60 or older have an increased risk.
- Phimosis: A condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans.
- Having many sexual partners
- Poor penile hygiene
- Tobacco use
Screening tests detect cancer’s hidden warning signs long before symptoms appear and when the disease is most treatable. Understand your screening needs and complete the cancer screening and prevention questionnaire to manage your cancer risk.