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For most men infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), no symptoms or health complications will ever occur. Some men, however, will develop genital warts while others may have more serious complications such as penile or anal cancers. It is important to realize that the HPV strains that cause genital warts are different from the HPV strains responsible for penile and anal cancers. Penile cancer is a rare disease and, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in every 100,000 men is affected by this form of cancer. Anal cancer is also uncommon; it should be noted, however, that gay and bisexual men are seventeen times more likely to develop HPV-related anal cancer than heterosexual men.
Initial symptoms include changes in skin color, build-up of tissue or a thickening of the skin itself. A growth or sore will then develop on the penis (usually, but not always painless). It is possible for no symptoms to be present until later, when more advanced stages of penile cancer develop.
Anal bleeding, pain, itching, and discharge are all possible symptoms of anal cancer caused by HPV. There may also be swollen lymph nodes in anal or groin areas, along with changes in restroom habits or the shape of the stool. Like penile cancer, anal cancer can be asymptomatic.
Anal and penile cancers caused by HPV can be treated. New forms of radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy can treat these HPV-related infections. Oftentimes, two of these treatments will be used in conjunction, and patients should decide with their doctors how to go about treating their individual situations.
For more information about penile or anal cancers related to HPV feel free to visit the CDC official website, www.cdc.gov.