Cases of penile cancer are skyrocketing worldwide. How to protect yourself

Cases of penile cancer are on the rise worldwide and are expected to increase by 77% in the next 26 years, the NY Post reports, citing an alarming BBC investigation.

21,000 Brazilians have been diagnosed with penile cancer. Photo: shutterstock (Archive)

The British publication notes that Germany saw a 50% increase in cases between 1961 and 2012, and the UK also saw a significant increase.

Although developing countries still have the highest incidence and mortality of penile cancer, the incidence is increasing in most European countries“said scientists from China’s Sun Yat-Sen University, following a large-scale analysis that included the latest data from 43 countries.

In Brazil, the penile cancer rate is one of the highest in the world, surpassed only by Uganda. Between 2012 and 2022, 21,000 Brazilians were diagnosed with penile cancer, and 4,000 died from the disease. In addition, another 6,500 suffered amputations.

Medical professionals in Brazil believe that low HPV vaccination rates are contributing to the increase in cases.

HPV is “one of the main risk factors” of penile cancer, says Mauricio Dener Cordeiro from the Brazilian Society of Urology.

In Brazil, despite the availability of the vaccine, the HPV vaccination rate remains low among girls – reaching only 57% – and in the case of boys, it does not exceed 40%”he said to the quoted source.

“To prevent the disease, the vaccination rate should be 90%“, he added.

Risk factors

Known risk factors also include unprotected sex, particularly not using condoms, with poor hygiene further increasing the risks.”Dr Neil Barber, lead for urology at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, told the BBC.

According to Barber, those affected by this disease were mainly those who were not circumcised.

On the other hand, other specialists claim that the aging of the population also has an impact on the number of cases, since penile cancer is most common in men aged 60 years.

If men experience discharge at the level of the penis, a change in its color or a marked change in sexual appetite, they should see a doctor, as early detection is crucial to avoid amputation.

However, despite the considerable increase in the number of cases diagnosed worldwide, men can be relatively relaxed, as cancer is one of the rarest.

In Uganda, between 2008 and 2012, the rate of penile cancer was 2.2 per 100,000 men, while in Brazil it was 2.1 per 100,000 men.