MANday: How Penile Lesions Can Cause Cancer

We have experienced this too many times with our patients: A patient has a lesion on his penis but it doesn’t bother him. That patient’s first thought? “Why do I need to remove it? I’ve had it for years and it hasn’t done anything.” 

Let me be the first to tell you that the same virus, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), that has caused your lesion is the same virus that is associated with “almost all cervical cancer…” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020). Yes, that’s right, we (men) are carriers to the virus that affects your spouse, significant other, or loved ones. 

One of the biggest requests that we receive from gynecologists is that we remove these lesions to try to help prevent the spread of HPV. Not only is this virus associated with nearly all cervical cancers, but new research is finding an association with penile, throat, vaginal, and anal cancers (CDC, 2020). These lesions carry significant risks and so many people don’t know about the risk.

I’ve had it removed, now what?

When your lesion is removed, we send it off to pathology to have it confirmed for HPV. What happens next? What do I tell my partner? Let me preface this question with this, HPV is an STD that you cannot determine where it came from or is it a reflection of recent sexual encounters.

Meaning, this is a virus that when exposed can remain dormant for days, months, or years. It can even be spread through oral-genital encounters. So this should not become a blame game, but rather a health decision for you and your partner. The next step after a lesion comes back positive is having your partner checked. Perform yearly well women’s exams to screen for cervical cancer and have the guys coming in for their yearly male annual annual checkups. 

Also if you are of age, younger than 26, and have not gotten vaccinated, get vaccinated. It does not cure HPV if you already have it. It can, however, prevent you from getting HPV if you are exposed to a new strain in the future. 

Want to get that lesion you have checked out? Come to The Y Factor where we specialize in men’s health and we can discuss treatment options for you and get you set up with one of our providers to get that lesion taken care of. We are your team of healthcare professionals to help you and guide you through your treatment. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020) Cancers Associated with Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Mike Manis is a board-certified nurse practitioner with a master’s of science in nursing.
Mike brings 8 years of nursing experience to The Y Factor. He graduated with honors in 2012, cum laude, with a bachelor of science in nursing. He was also inducted into the national honor society and also received the honorary Dean’s Award. He worked in the area of emergency medicine at Houston Methodist, a Magnet Hospital. While there, he pioneered advanced educational nursing programs, received honorary rewards, and became a certified emergency nurse.
In 2020, Mike earned his master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner to advance his career. Mike was also class president of his graduating class of 2020.

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