Penile cancer is a rare form of cancer found in males. This cancer affects the penis, which is the primary male reproductive organ. Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which simply mean cancer that begins in flat cells lining the penis (WebMD, 2014).
Before detailing this disease, one must first understand the structure of the penis. Noticeably rod-shaped, the penis is composed of two types of erectile tissue: corpora cavernosa and corpus songiosum. The first of these is two columns of tissue that form a majority of the penis, while the other is a single column that forms a small part of the penis. The corpus spongiosum is particularly useful for protecting/surrounding the urethra (WebMD, 2014).
When one thinks of cancer, the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not it will spread to other parts of the body. Penile cancer develops when malignant cells form in the tissues explained above. With that being said, it is still unknown as to what exactly causes penile cancer. There are risk factors, however, which include HPV from not getting circumcised, being age 60 or over, phimosis (a condition in which the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans), having poor hygiene, many sexual partners, and tobacco use (National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, 2013).
You do not have to ascertain a medical degree in order to perform a self-diagnosis. You know your body better than anyone, and the best way to figure out if you have this disease is to know the symptoms. Obvious symptoms include a lump on the penis and/or a discolored penis. Other noticeable symptoms are redness, rawness, and small, crusty bumps (American Cancer Society, 2014).
Locating a lump on the penis does not necessarily ensure that you have cancer. The only way to be sure is to consult with your doctor by scheduling a physical exam. If the doctor concurs with your self-diagnosis, he can order a biopsy of the lump. There are three types of biopsies. The first option, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, is the removal of tissue or fluid using a thin needle. The second option, incisional biopsy, is the removal of part of a lump or a sample of tissue that doesn't look normal. The third option, excisional biopsy, is the removal of an entire lump or area of tissue that doesn’t look normal. The removed substance(s) can then be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer (National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, 2013).
If the substance is deemed cancerous, there are treatment options available. The options depend on factors such as the stage of the cancer, where the cancer is located, and overall physical health. Treatment options for penile cancer are surgery, topical therapy (for some very early penile cancers), radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. A majority of the time, surgery is the main treatment method, sometimes being substituted with radiation therapy...