Treating Penile Cancer
All HPV sufferers should conduct self-exams, and men in particular should keep an eye out for signs of penile cancer. If you are a HPV-infected man with these symptoms, it's vital that you see a doctor as soon as possible. If your fears are realized and you are diagnosed with penile cancer, remember the earlier the disease is detected, the better your chances of recovery. Your medical practitioner will probably ask questions about your symptoms and lifestyle, and if necessary he or she will refer you for further tests.
A variety of tests are used to diagnose penile cancer and you will probably have to see an urologist (a specialist in disorders of the male reproductive systems and the male and female urinary tracts). He or she may examine your lymph nodes, because swollen lymph nodes around the groin or elsewhere in the body may indicate a spread of cancerous cells. You are also likely to undergo X-rays or ultrasound examinations as well as blood tests to check how many red blood cells you have, and the health of your kidneys and liver. As in testing for other types of cancer, a biopsy may be carried out. This means that a small sample of tissue or fluid from the affected area of your penis will be removed and examined to see if it contains cancerous cells. If you do get a positive diagnosis, the type of treatment you receive will depend on the stage and the location of the cancer growth.
Surgery is often used to treat penile cancer and usually involves removing parts of the penis and/or the affected lymph nodes from the groin. If your cancer is at an early stage, a relatively simple circumcision procedure may be enough. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may also be used to kill off cancer cells and shrink existing tumors. Generally speaking, the more advanced your cancer, the more likely you are to need larger parts of your genitals removed or operated on. Therefore, common sense tells you that if you have any reason to suspect cancer in this area, you must seek medical help right away. A full penectomy (the removal of the entire penis) is only carried out in the most extreme cases, namely for patients whose cancer is too advanced to be combated by less drastic forms of treatment. When penile cancer is caught early enough, it's very possible that your ability to urinate or have sex would not be reduced after treatment.
Penile cancer is a very rare disease, so there is a lack of statistical information on survival rates. Medical experts currently believe that only 0.1 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States are from penile cancer. Studies have shown that 90 percent of patients diagnosed with penile cancer in its earliest stage are still alive five years later. The assumption is that they continue to lead healthy lives far beyond the five-year mark too.