Listen up, gentlemen! Sure, size doesn’t matter. But when it comes to your health, shape does. A study of 1.5 million men by Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found that curved penises are at a significantly higher risk of developing several types of cancer.
The condition, known as penile fibrosis (or, in less medically charged terms, Peyronie’s disease), is due to a buildup of scar tissue that develops underneath the skin of the penis. The curve is noticeable during erections and can be painful and make sex difficult, if not impossible.
The study looked at patients suffering from Peyronie’s disease compared with those suffering from erectile dysfunction and found that Peyronie’s patients were at a 40 percent higher risk of testicular and stomach cancers and a 29 percent increased risk of skin cancer. Due to this increased risk, the Baylor team advises men with the condition to be monitored for cancer.
“We think this is important because these conditions are largely taken for granted,” lead researcher Dr. Alexander Pastuszak said at a conference. “And while they are significant in the sexual and reproductive lifecycle of these patients, linking them to these other disorders suggests that these men should be monitored for development of these disorders.”
During the study bracket, Pastuszak and his team also performed a genetic analysis on a patient and his father — both suffering from Peyronie’s — concluding that both men had genes which put them at risk for melanoma, testicular and prostate cancers.
While presenting these findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Pastuszak mentioned there could be a genetic link between Pyeronie’s and some cancers in men. However, the study still needs to be translated to a clinical population.
Although it’s possible that the disease has similar risk factors to cancer, not everyone is on board with cancer screenings for Peyronie’s patients. As reported by Newsweek, Cancer Research UK representative Emma Shields is one of the naysayers. “Screening for cancer isn’t always beneficial and comes with harms, so it’s essential screening programs are backed by robust evidence,” Shields said.
According to the Urology Department of Weill Cornell Medicine, between 0.5 and 13 percent of men in the United States may be suffering from Peyronie’s disease — many without even knowing it. If you or your partner notice a curvature in the penis during sexy time, it’s worth getting a health professional’s opinion.
As far as treatment goes, the Urology Care Foundation assesses that Peyronie’s disease goes away without treatment in very few cases. For most, options include oral drugs, penile injections and surgery — especially for those who have a difficult time having sex because of the issue. And, of course, when it comes to the penis, all options should be discussed with a professional.