The exact cause of cancer of the penis is not know, but below are some factors that may increase a man’s chance of getting a disease:
- Circumcision—Men who are not circumcised at birth have a higher risk for getting cancer of the penis.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection—HPVs are a group of more than 70 types of viruses that can cause warts (papillomas). Certain types of HPVs can infect the reproductive organs and the anal area. These types of HPVs are passed from one person to another during sexual contact.
- Smoking—Smoking exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals that affect more than the lungs.
- Smegma—Oily secretions from the skin can accumulate under the foreskin of the penis. The result is a thick, bad-smelling substance called smegma. If the penis is not cleaned thoroughly, the presence of smegma can cause irritation and inflammation.
- Phimosis—This is a condition in which the foreskin becomes constricted and difficult to retract.
- Treatment for psoriasis—The skin disease psoriasis is sometimes treated with a combination of medication and exposure to ultraviolet light.
- Age—Most cases of penile cancer occur in men over age 50.