Increase in Penis Amputation in Brazil as Penile Cancer Spreads


There is an increase in the rate of Penis Amputation in Brazil as Penile Cancer Spreads. About 6,500 men in Brazil have had amputation of the penis due to the spread of penile cancer.

Penile cancer is rare, but there are increase in mortality rates and incidences across the world. In fact, rates are expected to go up by a whopping 77% in the coming 26 years.

According to the latest studies, Brazil has one of the highest incidence rates of 2.1 per 100,000 men. In Germany, rates saw a 50% increase between 1961 and 2012. A significant spike was also observed in the UK.

However, between the years 2012 and 2022, a total of 21,000 cases were reported in Brazil. This was according to the Ministry of Health of the country. Because of this, more than 4,000 deaths and over 6,500 penile amputations have been seen in the past decade.

The penile amputation rate is equivalent to an average of two per day. The highest incident rate was observed in Brazil’s poorest state, Maranhão, which was equivalent to 6.1 men per 100,000.

When it comes to amputation, a partial amputation may still allow urine to exit the penis. However, for total amputation, the patient’s urethral orifice would get moved to the perineum in between the anus and scrotum. Because of this, the patient would need to sit down in order to urinate.

According to Mauricio Dener Cordeiro from the Brazilian Society of Urology, persistent HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is a primary risk factor.

This infection could be transmitted via sex. It could also result in penis and mouth cancers in some cases.

Dr. Cordeiro shared that mass HPV vaccination is crucial, as it has been seen to be highly effective in preventing such lesions. However, he adds that Brazil has vaccination rates that do not meet the required level for effectiveness.

The National Health Service also says that smoking could also increase penile cancer risk. One may also have a higher likelihood of getting penile cancer if they experience problems pulling back the foreskin to maintain the cleanliness of the penis. This condition is known as phimosis.

Neil Barber, the Clinical Urology Lead at the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, also explains that in the population of circumcised individuals, penile cancer is nearly unheard of. Infections under the foreskin, poor hygiene, and conditions such as phimosis are risk factors.

Other established risk factors for penile cancer include unprotected sex (which specifically involves not using condoms). Poor hygiene could also exacerbate the risks of such a route.

Dr. Cordeiro noted that penile cancer is a rare condition that can be highly prevented. He recommends the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. He also advises going through surgery for foreskin removal in phimosis cases in order to reduce penile cancer risk.

You may be wondering, what is penile cancer?

What is penile cancer?

Penile cancer develops when malignant cells in the penis grow out of control. Cancer can form anywhere in your penis, but it most commonly starts on the head or foreskin (if you’re uncircumcised).

Don’t forget the main roles of the penis are to carry urine out of the body and sperm into the woman’s vagina.

The earlier penile cancer is found, the better. If it’s found early, there is a good chance for successful treatment and a cure. If diagnosis is delayed, the disease can get worse. Treatment for more advanced cancer may be less successful and more disfiguring. Since you see and touch your penis when you urinate, you can help spot the disease early.

How will you know if you have penile cancer?

According to American Urology Organisation, uncircumcised men are at greater risk for penile cancer. But every man should be on the lookout for penile lesions. Signs and symptoms of penile cancer include:

  1. An area of skin becoming thicker and/or changing color
  2. A lump on the penis
  3. An ulcer (sore) that might bleed
  4. A reddish, velvety rash
  5. Small, crusty bumps
  6. Flat, bluish-brown growths
  7. Smelly discharge (fluid) under the foreskin
  8. Swelling

Researchers don’t know what causes the change that transforms a healthy cell into a cancer cell, but they’ve discovered several risk factors. A risk factor doesn’t cause penile cancer, but it increases the possibility.

Penile cancer risk factors include:

  • Males who are not circumcised
  • The use of tobacco
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • HIV patients
  • Poor hygiene

Penile cancer isn’t contagious. However, HPV — one of the risk factors for penile cancer — is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact (most often) during unprotected sex. HPV spreads through vaginal sex, oral sex and anal sex.

Penile cancer can be fatal, especially if it’s spread beyond your penis. You can reduce your risk by putting good habits into place, like practicing safer sex and avoiding tobacco products. See your healthcare provider at the first sign of a change in your penis, like a lump or discoloration.

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