Several websites have recently run headlines like “Curved Penises Put Men at Higher Risk of Cancer” and “Correlation Between Penis Shape and Cancer Risk?” raising concerns in men with slightly curved cocks (and questions about why cancer doctors are looking at their patients’ hard-ons in the first place). But it turns out that these headlines are pretty misleading and that the connection between cancer and a curved penis is the result of clickbait headlines.
The cancer / curved penis connection debunked
The study in question, recently published in the journal Fertility & Sterility, actually found higher cancer rates among men with Peyronie’s disease (also known as penile fibrosis), a disorder in which fibrous “plaques” or scar tissue in the soft tissue of the penis causes men to have an extreme (and sometimes painful) curvature when erect.
Peyronie’s disease is a distinct medical condition that is far different from merely having a curved penis.
Medical experts aren’t entirely sure what causes Peyronie’s disease, but some estimate that it affects somewhere between 3.7% and 7.1% of all men (and possibly more as some men may be too embarrassed to discuss the condition with their doctors). The disease can sometimes be cured by injections that can break down the scar tissue or, in some cases, surgery from a skilled doctor.
The study in question looked at health data on genetically linked diseases in 48,423 men with Peyronie’s disease, plus 1,117,428 men with erectile dysfunction and 484,230 men with no penile medical conditions.
Compared with men who deal with erectile dysfunction, men with Peyronie’s disease had higher risks for stomach cancer, skin cancer, testicular cancer and all cancers generally.
“We think there are genetic abnormalities that can predispose men to both Peyronie’s disease, as well as certain cancers, and potentially other genetically linked conditions as well,” says the study’s lead researcher Alexander W. Pastuszak, an assistant professor of urology at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
“As a result,” he continues, “men who are seen for Peyronie’s disease and treated for this condition should be counseled and monitored after treatment for malignancy and other conditions.”
So, relax. When these articles say a men with a curved penis has a higher risk for cancer, that’s a gross oversimplification. But if you do have Peyronie’s disease, you might want to talk to your doctor about the study.
Featured image by iprachenko via iStockcancer NSFW penises