I’m a men’s health expert – watch out for this little known sign of cancer in your genitals

Over the last 30 years, a tireless campaign has urged women to check their breasts for cancer. 

Some studies show that the increase in self-examination has led to a 39 percent rise in women seeking help for sinister lumps.

Now, one male health expert says we should do the same checks for an area of mens’ anatomy…the penis.

According to urologist Dr Peter White, a man’s genitals is an important window into his overall health — and subtle changes can indicate serious diseases like cancer and diabetes. 

And checking regularly for a handful of signs can catch a problem before it becomes potentially deadly. 

Most men don’t examine their penises often. But Dr Peter White, a urologist in Australia, is uring men to change this and to check their penis more often

Dr White said: ‘Penile health is not just about physical appearance, it’s a reflection of overall wellbeing.

‘Everyone is unique in apperance, but identifying and tackling problems and issues early is crucial.’

Dr White detailed the five changes to your penile health that warrant a visit to the physician. 


Patches of white skin on the penis could indicate the skin thinning condition lichen sclerosus, according to Dr White.

This strikes about one in ten men between the ages of 30 and 50 years.

This condition can cause pain during sex and scarring, as well as itchy, irritated skin.

Lumps, rashes or blisters likely indicates a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) such as herpes, syphilis or the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Syphilis causes small painless sores , while herpes leads to blisters on or around the penis and HPV can cause genital warts.

Doctors are particularly concerned about syphilis, which can lead to abnormalities in babies if it is passed to a woman, and HPV, which raises the risk of cervical cancer in women.

Blisters and ulcers that change size or shape or discoloration of some areas of skin could also be a warning sign of penile cancer, Dr White added.

This disease is not common, affecting fewer than one in 100,000 men every year, but can be missed in the early stages.

But Dr White said some shifts in skin on the penis were also benign, or not a warning sign of a complication.

He pointed to pearly penile papules, or small, flesh-colored lumps that appear around the head of the penis, which he said were harmless growths.


It is natural for the genital glands to release less fluid during orgasm as a man ages.  

But if this happens before the age of 45, it may indicate a problem, Dr White warns.

Reduced ejaculate may indicate lower levels of testosterone — the male sex hormone that instructs the glands to make the liquid that carries the sperm.

Doctors may wish to do blood tests to diagnose a deficiency, and perhaps prescribe treatments such as testosterone injections.

Other factors that could cause a drop in the amount of ejaculate include dehydration, or over-consumption of porn.

Dr White also raised concerns over weakened ejacultations, or where fluid is released from the body less forcefully.

He said this is likely the result of a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.

To treat this, Dr White recommended increasing exercise, including squats and crunches that work the pelvic floor.


If you notice a nasty smell in the genital area, it’s likely due to a build-up of dead skin cells and bacteria that happens with poor hygiene.  

This affects both circumcised and uncircumcised men.

If the area is not adequately washed for longer periods, men can develop a nasty yeast infection called balantitis, which causes the foreskin around the penis head to become red and swollen.

To avoid this, doctors recommend washing the area once a day with warm water and soap

They advise against doing this more regularly, however, because it can raise the risk of skin irritations.


The average man should urinate between six and seven times per day, doctors say.

But surveys suggest three quarters of men may not reach this frequency, due to dehydration.

Dr White said that not urinating often enough can raise the risk of kidney problems including kidney stones — hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that stick together in concentrated urine.

The stones require an operation to remove them, which can be painful. 

About 11 percent of men and six percent of women suffer from kidney stones at least once in their lifetimes. 

A weaker stream can be a sign of weakened pelvic floor muscles, which leave men less able to push urine from the body. 

Dr White says it’s also important to watch out for urinating more frequently. This could be a sign of diabetes — with the body using urine to expel excess glucose.

In older men, frequent urination can be a sign of an enlarged prostate — which grows with age and can push on the bladder.

 Doctors say men should drink 15 cups of water a day to avoid dehydration.


It is normal to have some curvature to your penis, Dr White says. 

However, if it is pronounced —  for instance approaching a right angle — it could be a sign of peyronie’s disease.

This is when scar tissue has formed in the penis, which doesn’t expand along with the rest of the organ when it is erect, causing a curve.

It often forms as a result of injury to the penis, such as through sport or rigorous sex.

Dr White said the condition can leave men unable to have sex and cause self-image problems, leading many to struggle to keep an erection in front of others.

To treat the condition, many doctors recommend traction therapy — where someone wears a device on the penis which helps to correct the curve.

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