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Cancer of the penis or penile cancer is a rare disease in which cancer cells or malignant cells are found on the external skin and in the tissues of the penis. It is generally an aggressive form of cancer that has a tendency to spread.
Penile cancer is relatively rare in Western countries; In some South Asian countries, Africa and South America, however it ranks first among malignancies. Although this type of cancer is rare, it is estimated that more than 75% of people older that 60 years are affected by penile cancer. It usually responds well to treatment, and many patients can be cured.
The penis is the external male organ that contains many types of tissue, like skin, nerves, and blood vessels. Penile cancer evolves from a disruption in one or more genes in a cell's DNA. Genes control cell activities including division and growth. When cells die, they are replaced by new cells as the body needs them. However, when the genes that orchestrate this natural replacement process are disrupted by chemicals, illness, or other unknown factors, control over cell division and growth is lost. The resultant uncontrolled mass of tissue is a tumor. The tumor spreads gradually becoming larger in the area of the skin where it first develops. Ultimately, it spreads to deep tissues inside the body of the penis and to lymph nodes in the groin (inguinal area) or pelvis. Different types of penile cancer can develop in each kind of cell.
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