Among the many issues that can affect a man’s sexual health, penile cancer is fairly rare. In developed countries such as the United States, only about 1 in 100,000 men will be affected by this potentially deadly disease, with higher incidence for men who are uncircumcised. However, one of the frightening things about penis cancer is that the early warning signs are so often mistaken for other problems, like genital warts, herpes, and other STDs. Because early detection of cancer is essential in treating the disease and preventing it from spreading, recognizing the symptoms and getting proper treatment is vital to any cancer prognosis. Periodic self-exams, good hygiene, and adequate penis care are all vital in maintaining penis health.

What is penis cancer?
Penis cancer, like other types of cancer, occurs when cells reproduce abnormally, resulting in malignancy. Cancer is a potentially deadly disease, and it can be treated most effectively when detected in the early stages. Knowing what to look for and getting prompt medical attention when possible problems occur is vital to any cancer sufferer’s long-term outlook.

What are the common penis cancer symptoms?
The most common symptoms of penile cancer include the following:

• Red penis skin or other changes in color;

• Penis sores (may appear as bumps, warts, open sores, or blisters that may or may not hurt – often mistaken for herpes and other STDs);

• Rash on the penis;

• Foul-smelling discharge;

• Pain in the penis;

• Bleeding from the penis or from under the foreskin.

Who is at risk for developing penile cancer?
Penis cancer is not common, especially in developed countries; however, there are certain risk factors that men should be aware of. Some of these include:

• Age – men over 60 are at greater risk for penile cancer, while men under 40 are rarely affected;

• Being uncircumcised – men with an intact foreskin are more likely to contract HPV (human papillomavirus), a common virus which may be transmitted by sexual partners and has been linked to increased incidence of cancer.

• Phimosis – inability to retract the foreskin over the head of the penis has been linked to greater risk for cancer;

• Poor hygiene – lack of personal care can result in skin infections and irritation that have been indicated as risk factors for cancer;

• Smoking and use of other tobacco products;

• Multiple sexual partners.

Treating penis cancer
Treating penis cancer depends in large part on the size and location of the tumor, as well as how far the disease has spread. Treatments may range from surgical removal of the tumor to radiation or chemotherapy.

Prevention and self-care
While there are no guarantees that cancer can be prevented, taking some common-sense steps can help to reduce the risk and to increase chances for successful treatment. Men of all ages should follow the suggestions here, not only to protect against cancer, but to promote overall penis health:

1. Keep it clean. Good hygiene is about more than a pleasant odor and appearance; it is about good health. Accumulations of dead skin cells and oils can be a haven for bacteria, as well as causing irritation, especially in men who are uncircumcised. Infection and skin irritation are both indicated as risk factors for penis cancer.

2. Cover it up. As previously mentioned, STDs can increase the risk for penis cancer. In particular, HPV, which can be easily transmitted between sexual partners, is linked to incidence of cancer of the penis. Using barrier protection during all sexual encounters can at least minimize the risk of infection from human papillomavirus; and HPV vaccinations are increasingly recommended for men as well as women.

3. Check for warning signs. While not all penis sores, bumps and other skin conditions indicate cancer, they can indicate a problem, and ignoring them is never a good idea. The penis and surrounding area should be checked regularly, and any sores or bumps that do not heal within a month or so should be evaluated by a qualified medical professional.

4. Keep it nourished. Like all other parts of the body, the penis relies on vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to nourish the cells, maintain healthy circulation, and fight off all types of disease; healthy cell reproduction also depends on proper nourishment. Applying a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) containing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (powerful cancer-fighting agents) may help to boost the body’s defenses and improve overall penis health.

Author's Bio: 

For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.