A rare disease in Europe and the United States, the cancer of penis is a serious problem in Brazil mainly in the Northeast, where the incidence of the disease can be higher than 4 for 100,000 men.
In Europe and the U.S., penile cancer represents less than 0.5% of all cancers, affecting less than 1 in 100,000 men.
In the Brazilian state of Ceará alone, every month, two new cases of the disease are diagnosed at the ICC (Instituto do Câncer do Ceará – Ceará’s Cancer Institute). In the last 5 years, at least 145 men had their penis amputated there due to penile cancer.
To better understand, prevent and treat the disease Brazilian urologists are collecting data in order to elaborate the 1st Epidemiological Study of Cancer of Penis in Brazil.
The results of the study should be known next year, according to doctor Agnaldo Nardi, the epidemiology coordinator for the Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU). "The disease is very serious and destroys a man in his own notion of human being," says Nardi.
In Brazil, according to the National Institute of Cancer, penile cancer comprises 2% of all cancer cases among men. It’s a disease for the most part preventable with soap and water.
In its initial phase the cancer can be treated without mutilation. In Ceará, however, most of the men who come looking for help cannot be helped because the disease is already too advanced, amputation being the only thing left to the doctor. Patients generally are older men who work in farms and have poor hygiene habits.
Preliminary data from the SBU study show that Maranhão, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia and Pará are the Brazilian states with the larger concentration of penis cancer cases.
In Maranhão the situation is the worst with 16% of all male cancers being penile cancer. In that state cancer of the penis kills more than prostate cancer.
The Brazilian Society of Urology believes that an aggressive education campaign about the disease with information on better hygienic habits could eradicate the disease in 15 years.
Penis wounds that won’t heal, bad smelling lumps with secretion as well as whitish stains on the penis are some of the symptoms of the cancer.