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):
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (see Question 1).
It is important that the same scientific evaluation that is used to assess conventional approaches be used to evaluate CAM therapies (see Question 4).
The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine are sponsoring or cosponsoring...
Corpora cavernosa: The two columns of erectile tissue that form most of the penis.
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 cancer.
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. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. 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 cancer.
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).