14 January 2020

Man with ‘large cauliflower-like mass’ on his penis diagnosed with rare cancerous tumour

After being pulled over by police officers, a man from West Virginia was found to have a rare type of penile cancer.

A 39-year-old West Virginian man was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive tumour growing in his groin. 

The unidentified man, whose case was published in Urology Case Reports by doctors from Marshall University in Huntington, was travelling when he was pulled over by police officers who noticed the unusually ‘large bulge in his pants', the report mentions. 

It is unclear why the man was pulled over and whether the officers asked to physically see the growth, or if he simply told them about his ailment. The incident, however, prompted him to go to a hospital to have the tumour checked out. 

Ruined sex life

The man revealed that the ‘large cauliflower-like mass’ had ruined his sex life.

The report shows a graphic image, released by Dr Anthony El Khoury and colleagues, of the tumour and explains how it had spread ‘erratically and rapidly’, but does not mention how long the man had been suffering with the growth.

The man had to undergo two rounds of extensive surgery, followed by chemotherapy to shrink the growths. His case was particularly tricky as the growths were close to his urethra, but he eventually recovered and fortunately retained his penis.

“Like most people, our patient wanted to fight for penile preservation. His quality of life had been heavily impacted by the tumour, especially since he had not experienced intimacy with his partner for years, due to his medical condition,” the doctors wrote.

Buschke-Löwenstein tumour

The tumour that the man had developed is known as a Buschke-Löwenstein tumour (BLT), and is ‘characterised by being a low-grade tumour,’ the doctors wrote. This means that the cancer is not deadly. It is also known as Giant Condyloma Acuminatum and is more prevalent in men than women.

According to the report, risk factors for this type of cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Being uncircumcised
  • Having one's first sexual experience at the age of 16 or younger

According to a 2019 article in the International Journal of STD & AIDS, warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and constitute the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), and commonly affect the groin and anus areas.

In rare cases the disease evolves into BLT. The report also mentions a case where another man presented with a similar case of penile BLT, but refused surgery. The doctors added that he recovered completely, with no recurrence after five years, following 16 weeks’ therapy with topical 5% imiquimod (a prescription medication).

Case Reports in Dermatological Medicine also reported on a case of a 65-year-old man who went to a hospital after experiencing a bloody and foul-smelling discharge from his groin for a week.

He had initially noticed a small lesion about 20 years earlier, but because it didn't bother him at that time, he did not seek medical care. It had increased in size over the years and had extended into the left groin, and it was only when blood started oozing from it and caused discomfort, that he sought medical attention.

It is uncertain how many people suffer from the disease, although one study suggests it may affect one in 1 000 people

Image: Getty


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