New research from Baylor College of Medicine, published in Fertility and Sterility, has found that the curve of a man’s penis could be a sign of increased cancer risk.
After analyzing health insurance claims from over 1.7 million men and following up over a span of nine years, researchers found a link between men with Peyronie’s disease — a disorder of the connective tissue in the penis that creates a visible curve in the shaft — and several kinds of cancers.
Researchers discovered that men with Peyronie’s disease were 43 percent more likely to have stomach cancer, 19 percent more likely to get melanoma, and 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with testicular cancer. Additionally, men with Peyronie’s were more likely to have prostate cancer, though that statistic wasn’t significant.
Overall, men with Peyronie’s had a 10 percent increased risk of cancer.
But before you do a double-take on your own penis shape, please know that not all curved penises are a sign of Peyronie’s disease, according to the American Urological Association. In fact, study author Dr. Alexander Pastuszak — a urologist at the Baylor College of Medicine — assures that “a slight curve can be normal.”
Pastuszak’s team continued to investigate these findings by studying the genome of a father and son with Peyronie’s. “We found that this father and son had a set of genes that predispose them to both genitourinary or urologic cancers, and testis cancer is within that group, as well as stomach cancers,” Pastuszak said in a press briefing.
“Men with PD have an increased risk of developing cancer, suggesting a possible common etiology between PD and cancer development, supporting recent genetic findings,” the authors wrote, adding that “additional follow-up of men with PD after diagnosis and treatment of PD may be warranted.”
Pastuszak’s team believes more studies need to be done to see how Peyronie’s might influence cancer growth and development. Right now that influence is unknown.