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Campaign warns about the importance of preventing penile cancer

The Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU) launches the Campaign to Prevent and Combat Penis Cancer on Thursday (1st), with the aim of raising awareness among Brazilians about the importance of prevention. According to the Ministry of Health, from 2012 to November 2022, 21,766 cases of penile cancer were registered in the country. There were 6,456 amputations of the male genital organ from 2013 to 2023, with an annual average of around 600 amputations. From 2011 to 2021, the disease caused more than 4 thousand deaths in Brazil.0a1dd58db0.jpg

The campaign, which is in its fourth edition, marks the passage of World Cancer Day, on Sunday (4)

According to the president of the SBU, Luiz Otávio Torres, the data shows that more than half of the men diagnosed were already in an advanced stage of cancer. In an interview with Agência Brasil, Torres said that this is the only type of cancer that can be prevented with soap and water. The doctor emphasized that penile cancer, in most cases, can be avoided with correct penile hygiene.

The highest incidence of the disease is observed in the North and Northeast regions and is closely related to socioeconomic level. “Partner, because people don’t have the habit of cleaning themselves. This is related to the social part. In the economic part, too. Those who are better off have access to a range of information,” said Torres.

Public hospitals

The SBU is seeking public hospitals to join the campaign across the country, so that they can offer conditions for free surgeries. Teams of urologists from the 24 sections of the SBU will carry out postectomy (removal of the foreskin) in cases where it does not fully expose the glans, or head of the penis and, by extension, does not allow for correct hygiene of the penis. It is necessary to find a place and material to perform the surgeries. “We are trying to carry out the campaign in as many SBU sections as possible. We have 29 days in February to try,” said Torres.

Throughout the month of February, SBU doctors will clarify doubts about the disease on the entity’s social networks on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok.

“It’s not about doing a postectomy on everyone,” the doctor highlighted. He explained that the procedure is indicated when a man has true phimosis, that is, when he pulls the foreskin, the skin, and does not expose the glans. “It can’t wash it. When he has the foreskin, he pulls it and exposes the glans, he doesn’t need to remove the foreskin. Just wash your penis.”

Torres recalled that, many times, people have poor socioeconomic conditions and do not wash their penis. “So, it is better to remove the foreskin because the glans is exposed. Even if he doesn’t wash it, his foreskin doesn’t hold the dirt inside.” In previous editions of the campaign, doctors affiliated with the SBU performed more than 200 postectomies per year.


The most common signs of penile cancer are wounds that do not heal; discharge with a strong odor; thickening or change of color in the skin of the glans. “This could end up developing into cancer. These are external lesions in which the itching does not go away”, said the president of the SBU. When it is already in an advanced stage, nodules may appear in the groin.

Smoking is one of the risk factors. “What is known is that, in the smoking population, the incidence is higher than among non-smokers”, explained Torres. Most penile cancers occur after the age of 50. According to the doctor, this does not exclude rarer cases, in younger men. HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is another cause. The president of the SBU informed that the HPV vaccine is available free of charge in the Unified Health System (SUS) and should be taken by girls and boys aged 9 to 14. “Apart from soap and water, the only thing that can prevent [o câncer de pênis] is not smoking and also the HPV vaccine, which everyone should take during adolescence”. It is also recommended to use a condom to avoid contamination by sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV.

Brazil is one of the three countries with the highest incidence and mortality from this type of cancer. It is second only to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s related to habit and information”, reinforced Torres.


When discovered early, the disease has a high chance of cure. “When the diagnosis is made in the early stages, we can treat it by removing only the skin, avoiding removing the penis”, said doctor Roni de Carvalho Fernandes, director of the Escola Superior de Urologia. According to the Latin American and Caribbean Code against Cancer, prepared with the support of the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization, penile cancer has the highest incidence in the world in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

SOURCE/CREDITS: Alana Gandra – Reporter at Agência Brasil

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Campaign warns importance preventing penile cancer



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