Precancerous lesions are identifiable local signs (abnormalities) that, with time, have an increased risk of developing into cancer. We are learning more all the time about the conditions that can develop into cancers of the mouth and face, among others.
The following conditions which may affect the penis area are usually regarded as pre-cancerous, and if left untreated may progress to penile cancer:
Bowenoid papulosis is a highly infectious disease, most commonly linked with sexually active men. It is directly linked with HPV 16 (human papilloma virus). It presents as single or multiple small, red, brown or flesh-coloured spots or patches on the genitals of males and females.
Bowens disease is a very early form of skin cancer, which is easily curable. The main sign is a red, scaly patch on the skin. The abnormal growth takes place in the squamous cells – the outermost layer of skin – and Bowen’s disease is sometimes referred to as “squamous cell carcinoma in situ”. If left untreated, however, they are likely to progress to a more invasive cancers including penile cancer. Bowen’s disease can appear anywhere on the skin, especially the trunk, arms or legs.
It’s important to get a proper diagnosis, as Bowen’s disease can look like other conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema.