Penis cancer cases are surging across the globe, and the relatively rare malignancy affecting genitals is predicted to further increase at an alarming rate of 77% in the next three decades, according to a recent investigation conducted by BBC.

To understand the incidence trend of penis cancer, the researchers from the Sun Yat-Sen University in China analyzed 44 populations from 43 countries using the Cancer Incidence in Five Continents Plus (CI5plus) and the Nordic Cancer Registries (NORDCAN) databases from 1973 to 2012. They estimated that in 2020, the global age-standardized rates for penile cancer reached 36,068 new cases and 13,211 deaths per 100,000 cases.

The researchers also observed a rising age-standardized incidence of penile cancer in 15 countries. Thirteen of these countries were in Europe, and two were in Asia. The countries include the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Norway, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, the Czech Republic, China, and Israel.

Brazil has one of the highest incidence rates of 2.1 per 100,000 men and sees 6,500 amputations in a decade. The cases in Germany increased by 50% between 1961 and 2012, while the UK has also seen a significant spike.

"Although developing countries still bear the higher incidence and mortality of penile cancer, the incidence is on the rise in most European countries. To mitigate the disease burden resulting from penile cancer, measures to lower the risk for penile cancers, including improving penile hygiene and male human papillomavirus vaccination, may be warranted," wrote the researchers in the study published in the JMIR publications.

Know the signs of penis cancer:

According to the American Cancer Society, the first signs of penis cancer may appear on the skin of the penis which may manifest as alterations in penile skin texture such as thickening, changes in color, and the presence of lumps. Other symptoms include ulcers that may bleed, a reddish, velvety rash beneath the foreskin, small crusty bumps, flat bluish-brown growths, and the occurrence of smelly discharge or bleeding beneath the foreskin. Swelling at the end of the penis and swollen lymph nodes could also be warning signs.

These symptoms may not necessarily confirm that an individual has penile cancer, as numerous other conditions can also present similar signs. However, individuals experiencing these symptoms are recommended to seek medical attention, as an early diagnosis can improve the chances of successful treatment for penile cancer.