Penile cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the
tissues of the penis.
The penis is a rod-shaped male reproductive organ that passes sperm and urine
from the body. It contains two types of erectile tissue (spongy tissue with
blood vessels that fill with blood to make an erection):
- Corpora cavernosa: The two columns of erectile tissue that form most of the
- Corpus spongiosum: The single column of erectile tissue that forms a
small portion of the penis. The corpus spongiosum surrounds the urethra (the
tube through which urine and sperm pass from the body).
The erectile tissue is
wrapped in connective tissue and covered with skin. The glans (head of the
penis) is covered with loose skin called the foreskin.
Human papillomavirus infection may increase the risk of developing penile
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for penile cancer include the following:
Circumcision may help prevent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
A circumcision is an operation in which the doctor removes part or all of the
foreskin from the penis. Many boys are circumcised shortly after birth. Men who
were not circumcised at birth may have a higher risk of developing penile
Other risk factors for penile cancer include the following:
- Being age 60 or older.
- Having phimosis (a condition in which the foreskin of
the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans).
- Having poor personal hygiene.
- Having many sexual partners.
- Using tobacco products.
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Penile Cancer - Diagnosis
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Penis Cancer - Risks
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Penile Cancer - Signs and Symptoms
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Penis Cancer - Stages
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