‘I’m a doctor – here are the most common symptoms of penile cancer’

Penile cancer is most common in men over the age of 50. It mostly affects the skin of the penis and the foreskin – the skin covering the head of the penis.

If you have a problem with your penis, statistically, it’s more likely to be due to causes other than cancer.

But recognising the symptoms early can help with treatment options.

UK-based doctor Dr James O’Donovan outlined the symptoms of penile cancer to look out for on his YouTube channel, so you know when to see your doctor.

He said: “Most cancers of the penis affect the skin covering the penis which is the foreskin or the head or tip known as the glans of the penis.”

The most common symptoms, he said, are:

  • A growth or a sore that doesn’t heal within four weeks
  • A rash on the penis
  • Bleeding from the penis or under the foreskin
  • A smelly discharge
  • Thickening of the skin of the penis (phimosis)
  • Change in colour of the skin of your penis or foreskin

Other symptoms of penile cancer can include:

  • A lump in the groin
  • Feeling excessively tired
  • Stomach pain that doesn’t go away
  • Or losing weight without trying to

Dr O’Donovan added: “It’s important to know many of these symptoms can be caused by things other than cancer.

“But nonetheless, it’s important to see your doctor if you do have any of them, because on a rare chance if it is penile cancer, the sooner that it’s detected, the better the treatment outlooks are.”

The medic added it’s also worth seeing your doctor if you notice any changes in how your penis looks, discharge or bleeding from your penis, or if you’ve been treating your symptoms at home for a few weeks and it hasn’t helped.

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