Man’s penis falls off after he ignored signs of cancer
A MAN'S penis fell off after he ignored the signs of cancer that caused it to rot away.
The 82-year-old from India was referred to a hospital with a wound on his genital region 15 days after first seeking help.
He initially went to a primary care clinic where he told doctors he had an ulcer on his penis that developed 12 months previously and hadn't disappeared.
The patient also suffered from severe swelling and skin shedding for several months before seeing a doctor.
He was prescribed antibiotics and doctors drained the pus-filled swelling next to his penis.
But two weeks later he was sent to the hospital as his pain worsened and the ulcer on his penis had become so bad, it caused it to fall off.
"Clinical examination revealed almost complete loss of phallus," Dr Gaurav Garg, from King George's Medical University in India, wrote in the BMJ case report.
There was an abscess on the right side of the man's groin and hard lumps on the left side.
He denied any history of sexually transmitted infection or trauma in the area.
Tests on the "residual penile stump" revealed the man had squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
He was unable to urinate properly as the loss of his penis had damaged his urethra, so doctors performed surgery to construct a catheter to allow him to use the bathroom.
The cancer was too far along for it to be treated and the man was offered palliative care.
He died 15 days later.
"In the present case, the patient neglected his initial symptoms and eventually developed penile auto-amputation (his penis fell off), inguinal abscess and widespread metastasis," Dr Garg added.
"Auto-amputation of the penis can occur either due to tumour embolism blocking end arteries or due to direct tumour invasion."
Dr Garg added it was likely the man allowed his condition to worsen due to a lack of knowledge about available medical treatments and social stigma.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.
This is a cancer of the keratinocyte cells which are in the outer layer of the skin.
These cells are mainly found on the face, neck, bald scalps, arms, backs of hands and lower legs, but can occur anywhere on the body.
A lump or mole that is squamous cell carcinoma may appear scaly, have a hard, crusty cap, cause the skin to look raised, be tender to touch, and may bleed sometimes.
Like all cancer, if left untreated it can cause nasty side effects and may cause death.