Peyronie's Disease: Curved Penis Makes Men at Higher Risk of Cancer

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Men with a rare disease that causes curvature of the penis are at higher risk of developing several cancers, a large-scale study has found.

The research, which looked at over 1.5 million men and was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, turned up a connection between Peyronie's disease, a condition that causes men to have curved erections, and cancers of the stomach, skin and testes, The Telegraph reported.

According to Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine, Peyronie's affects connective tissue in the penis. A 2016 study in Plos One, estimated that 0.7 percent of Americans have clear-cut cases of Peyronie's, and 11 percent probably have the disease.

Those with the condition, the new review by Baylor College in the Houston found, have a 40 percent larger risk of testicular cancer, they run a 29 percent greater risk of melanoma, and they have a 40 percent higher likelihood of stomach cancer.

"We think this is important because these conditions are largely taken for granted," said Dr. Alexander Pastuszak, the leader of the study, according to The Telegraph.

"While they're significant in the sexual and reproductive life cycles of these patients, linking them to other disorders suggest that these men should be monitored for development of these disorders disproportionately in contrast to the rest of the population," the lead author continued.

"Nobody has made these associations before," Pastuszak concluded.

But Emma Shields, who works for the British charity Cancer Research U.K., told the paper that screening men with Peyronie's for cancers may not be practical or beneficial.

"It's not yet fully understood what causes Peyronie's disease, and it's possible it shares some similar risk factors to cancer," Shields said.

"Screening for cancer isn't always beneficial and comes with harms, so it's essential screening programs are backed by robust evidence."