What causes penile cancer?

The cause of penile cancer isn't known, but certain risk factors can increase your chances of getting it.

Men who carry the human papilloma virus (HPV) have an increased risk of developing penile cancer, which is the virus that causes genital warts .

Studies have foundthat almost 5 out of 10 men (47%) with penile cancer also have an HPV infection.

Age is also a risk factor for cancer of the penis. The condition rarely affects men under 40 years of age, and most commonly occurs in men aged over 60.

Smoking is the mostsignificant lifestyle factor associated with penile cancer. Chemicals found in cigarettes can damage cells in the penis, which increases yourrisk of getting the condition.

Conditions that affect the penis, such as Tight foreskin (phimosis) , whichmakes the foreskindifficult to retract, increase your chances of developing infections such as balanitis .

Repeated infections are linked to a higher risk of developing some types of penile cancer, because they can weaken your immune system.

The Cancer Research UK website has more information about the risks and causes of penile cancer .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018