Carcinoma of the penis

Carcinoma of the penis

Penile cancer is a malignant growth found on the skin or in the tissues of the penis. A Squamous cell carcinoma usually originating in the glans or foreskin is by far the most common type, occurring in 9 out of 10 cases. [cite web |url= |title=Cancer Research UK: Types of penile cancer |accessdate=2008-06-24] Penile cancer is very rare in Europe and North America, occurring in about one in 100,000 men in the latter. It accounts for 0.2% of cancers and 0.1% of deaths from cancer amongst males in the United States. However, in some parts of Africa and South America it accounts for up to 10% of cancers in men.cite web |url= |title=ACS :: What Are the Key Statistics About Penile Cancer? |accessdate=2007-12-13 |format= |work=]


Redness, irritation, or a sore on the penis or a lump on the penis. Anyone with these symptoms should consult a doctor immediately. [cite web |url= |title=Penis Cancer |accessdate=2008-06-24]


* A. Precancerous Dermatologic Lesions
* B. Carcinoma in Situ (Bowen Disease, Erythroplasia of Queyrat)
* C. Invasive Carcinoma of the Penis


Like many malignancies, penile cancer can spread to other parts of the body. It is usually a primary malignancy, the initial place from which a cancer spreads in the body. Much less often it is a secondary malignancy, one in which the cancer has spread to the penis from elsewhere. Doctors use the extent of metastasis to estimate what stage the disease is in, to aid in treatment decisions and prognosis. The stages are assessed as follows:

* Stage I - Cancer has only affected the glans and/or foreskin.
* Stage II - Cancer has spread to the shaft of the penis.
* Stage III - Cancer has affected the penis and surrounding lymph nodes.
* Stage IV - Cancer has moved beyond the groin area to other parts of the body.
* Recurrent - Cancer that has returned after treatment.

Prognosis can range considerably for patients, depending where on the scale they have been staged. Generally speaking, the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. The overall 5-year survival rate for all stages of penile cancer is about 50%.


There are several treatment options for penile cancer, depending on staging. They include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy. The most common treatment is one of five types of surgery:

* Wide local excision - The tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue are removed
* Microsurgery - Surgery performed with a microscope is used to remove the tumor and as little healthy tissue as possible
* Laser surgery - laser light is used to burn or cut away cancerous cells
* Circumcision - cancerous foreskin is removed
* Amputation (penectomy) - a partial or total removal of the penis, and possibly the associated lymph nodes. This is the most common and effective treatment.

Radiation therapy is usually used adjuvantly with surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. With earlier stages of penile cancer, a combination of topical chemotherapy and less invasive surgery may be used. More advanced stages of penile cancer usually require a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Risk factors

The exact cause of penile cancer is unknown. The American Cancer Society provides the following as risk factors for penile cancer:cite web |url= |title=ACS :: What Are the Risk Factors for Penile Cancer? |accessdate=2007-12-13 |format= |work=] human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, smoking, smegma, phimosis, treatment of psoriasis, age, and AIDS. The other etiologic factor most commonly associated with penile carcinoma is poor hygiene. There is some evidence that lichen sclerosus (also known as balanitis xerotica obliterans) may also be a risk factor.cite web |url= | Rapid Responses for Rickwood et al., 321 (7264) 792-793 |accessdate=2007-12-13 |format= |work=]


There has been some debate over whether circumcision is a form of prevention.

The American Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians say the use of infant circumcision in hope of preventing penile cancer in adulthood is not justified.cite web |url= |title=AMA (CSAPH) Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (I-99) Full Text |accessdate=2007-12-13 |format= |work=] [cite web |url= | |accessdate=2007-12-13 |format= |work=] The American Cancer Society has said that the suggestion that circumcision reduces penile cancer rates, were based on studies that were flawed because they failed to consider other factors that are now known to affect penile cancer risk. It concluded: "The current consensus of most experts is that circumcision should not be recommended as a prevention strategy for penile cancer." [cite web |url= |title=Can Penile Cancer Be Prevented? |Publisher= American Cancer Society]

One study reported a lifetime risk of a man in the United States developing invasive penile cancer (IPC) to be 1 in 600 if he is uncircumcised.cite journal |author=Kochen M, McCurdy S |title=Circumcision and the risk of cancer of the penis. A life-table analysis |journal=Am. J. Dis. Child. |volume=134 |issue=5 |pages=484–6 |year=1980 |pmid=7377156 |doi=] though this study has been criticised.cite journal |author=Ronald L. Poland |title=The question of routine neonatal circumcision |journal=The New England Journal of Medicine |volume=22 |issue=18 |pages=1312-1315 |year=1990 |url=] Several studies report that the risk is higher if a male was not circumcised neonatally, with relative risk estimates including 3.2cite journal |author=Maden C, Sherman KJ, Beckmann AM, "et al" |title=History of circumcision, medical conditions, and sexual activity and risk of penile cancer |journal=J. Natl. Cancer Inst. |volume=85 |issue=1 |pages=19–24 |year=1993 |pmid=8380060|doi=10.1093/jnci/85.1.19] and 22cite journal |author=Schoen EJ, Oehrli M, Colby C, Machin G |title=The highly protective effect of newborn circumcision against invasive penile cancer |journal=Pediatrics |volume=105 |issue=3 |pages=E36 |year=2000 |pmid=10699138|doi=10.1542/peds.105.3.e36] associated with the presence of a foreskin, and 0.41 associated with its absence.cite journal |author=Tsen HF, Morgenstern H, Mack T, Peters RK |title=Risk factors for penile cancer: results of a population-based case-control study in Los Angeles County (United States) |journal=Cancer Causes Control |volume=12 |issue=3 |pages=267–77 |year=2001 |pmid=11405332 |doi=] Several authors also state that there is a lower incidence of penile cancer in circumcised men.cite journal |author=Dillner J, von Krogh G, Horenblas S, Meijer CJ |title=Etiology of squamous cell carcinoma of the penis |journal=Scand J Urol Nephrol Suppl |volume= 34|issue=205 |pages=189–93 |year=2000 |pmid=11144896 |doi=10.1080/00365590050509913] cite journal |author=Gajalakshmi CK, Shanta V |title=Association between cervical and penile cancers in Madras, India |journal=Acta Oncol |volume=32 |issue=6 |pages=617–20 |year=1993 |pmid=8260177 |doi=] cite journal |author=Sánchez Merino JM, Parra Muntaner L, Jiménez Rodríguez M, Valerdiz Casasola S, Monsalve Rodríguez M, García Alonso J |title= [Epidermoid carcinoma of the penis] |language=Spanish; Castilian |journal=Arch. Esp. Urol. |volume=53 |issue=9 |pages=799–808 |year=2000 |pmid=11196386 |doi=] cite journal |author=Dillner J, von Krogh G, Horenblas S, Meijer CJ |title=Etiology of squamous cell carcinoma of the penis |journal=Scand J Urol Nephrol Suppl |volume= 34|issue=205 |pages=189–93 |year=2000 |pmid=11144896 |doi=10.1080/00365590050509913] cite journal |author=Schoeneich G, Perabo FG, Müller SC |title=Squamous cell carcinoma of the penis |journal=Andrologia |volume=31 Suppl 1 |issue= |pages=17–20 |year=1999 |pmid=10643514 |doi=] A few studies suggested that circumcision decreased the risk of HPV infection in males.cite journal |author=Castellsagué X, Bosch FX, Muñoz N, "et al" |title=Male circumcision, penile human papillomavirus infection, and cervical cancer in female partners |journal=N. Engl. J. Med. |volume=346 |issue=15 |pages=1105–12 |year=2002 |pmid=11948269 |doi=10.1056/NEJMoa011688] cite journal |author=Baldwin SB, Wallace DR, Papenfuss MR, Abrahamsen M, Vaught LC, Giuliano AR |title=Condom use and other factors affecting penile human papillomavirus detection in men attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic |journal=Sex Transm Dis |volume=31 |issue=10 |pages=601–7 |year=2004 |pmid=15388997 |doi=] cite journal |author=Svare EI, Kjaer SK, Worm AM, Osterlind A, Meijer CJ, van den Brule AJ |title=Risk factors for genital HPV DNA in men resemble those found in women: a study of male attendees at a Danish STD clinic |journal=Sex Transm Infect |volume=78 |issue=3 |pages=215–8 |year=2002 |pmid=12238658|doi=10.1136/sti.78.3.215] A study that concluded circumcision did not prevent penile cancer was done by Wallerstein, which reported that the risk of penile cancer in Japan, Norway, and Sweden (countries with a low rate of circumcision) is about the same (1 in 100,000 per year) as in the US. [cite journal |author=Wallerstein E |title=Circumcision. The uniquely American medical enigma |journal=Urol. Clin. North Am. |volume=12 |issue=1 |pages=123–32 |year=1985 |month=February |pmid=3883617]


Infection with HPV is associated with some penile cancers. A quadri-valent vaccine (Gardasil) to prevent infection by some types of HPV has been developed, successfully tested and approved for women by the US Food and Drug Administration.cite journal |author=Crum C, Jones C, Kirkpatrick P |title=Quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine |journal=Nature reviews. Drug discovery |volume=5 |issue=8 |pages=629–30 |year=2006 |month=Aug |pmid=16918020 |doi=10.1038/nrd2117 |url=] Approval for men is expected in 2008.Fact|date=June 2008 It is licensed and in production, and could substantially reduce the incidence of HPV infection in men, the incidence of genital warts and ano-genital cancers including penile cancer, and mortality. [cite journal |author=Lehtinen M, Paavonen J |title=Vaccination against human papillomaviruses shows great promise |journal=Lancet |volume=364 |issue=9447 |pages=1731–2 |year=2004 |pmid=15541429 |doi=10.1016/S0140-6736(04)17410-2 |url=]


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