Genital skin cancer

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The most interesting point (which is not referenced) and I would think does not apply to Australia is the bit about half of all deaths from skin cancer other than melanoma being due to skin cancer of genitalia.

I have never heard such a statement, even from the USA……






Not all skin cancers are from sun exposure. Viruses such as human papilloma virus(HPV), the virus that causes genital warts, also cause skin cancer. Skin cancer from HPV develops on genital skin in both men and women. It is rarely talked about, but it’s important and can be deadly.

Did you know that half of all deaths from skin cancer other than melanoma are from genital skin cancer? You probably also didn’t know that women are more likely to die from genital skin cancer as they are from skin cancer that developed from sun exposure (again, excluding melanoma).

We dermatologists are inexhaustible when it comes to warning people about the dangers of sun exposure, but we should also be warning people about the dangers of genital warts. HPV protection, which includes HPV vaccines, is as important as sun protection in preventing death from non-melanoma skin cancer.

Genital warts can lead to deadly skin cancer. If your dermatologist has not checked your genital skin, then be sure your primary care physician or gynecologist does. This is especially important, because unlike other STDs which often have symptoms, HPV or genital warts often don’t. It may be embarrassing, but it could save your life

  1. #1 by Cliff Rosendahl on August 22, 2012 - 11:25 pm

    That certainly is not my experience. I have had several patients die with melanoma and SCC but none from genital skin cancer although I have treated several Bowenoid papillomas and had one case of vulval non-mammary pagets all with good outcome to date

  2. #2 by Alister Lilleyman on August 22, 2012 - 11:34 pm

    maybe they are extrapolating and including cervical cancer with respect to HPV, and I’m pretty sure getting out a speculum is outside my scope of expertise, or patient expectation.
    Have only had one case of penile Bowens brought to my attention to date.

  3. #3 by Dr Chris Wetherall on August 22, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    Umm, are they fudging it a bit by including cervical cancers?

  4. #4 by kimberley on August 23, 2012 - 6:42 am

    Hi Ian.
    I also run a vulval clinic in Orange and see quie a few women with vulval melanosis usu noted at Pap test. Melanoma has to be excluded.
    HPV vaccine has already dramatically reduced genital warts in women and straight men we can only assume this will have a long term benefit in genital cancers. Once boys start being vaccinated msm should also start benefitting
    We are also happy to see men with genital lesions, despite the name of our clinic.
    Cheers, Kimberley

  5. #5 by Dr Jeff Keir on August 23, 2012 - 7:58 am

    Sounds a bit dodgy to me. My fatalities (about 10 in all, ~1 a year) have been from thick and/or high mitotic rate melanomas; poorly diff scalp/ear/lip SCCs amd Merkel Cell Carcinomas. Ain’t had a genital SCC/melanoma patient yet ….

  6. #6 by dr paul martin on August 23, 2012 - 10:07 am

    Utter rubbish in my opinion. my 40 years in the game in gynaecology and skin cancer has exposed me to one penile cancer that necessitated amputation and survived 10 yrs. Even including cervical cancer as a HPV death this claim is none-sense. I’ve had 2-3 disseminated skin SCC deaths and I’m sure at my age my peers would have the same experience. For all the female HPV around and the male partners with HPV/PIN – never seen a case advance, nor heard of one.

    • #7 by Kimberley on August 23, 2012 - 10:30 am

      According to Basil Donovan, the incidence of penile cancer (SCC) has been increasing in younger uncircumcised men due to the increase in oral sex. Still not as common as the HPV effect on the cervix. Something to be aware of perhaps as that cohort ages? Younger men will be protected by HPV vaccine.

  7. #8 by Paul Annells on August 27, 2012 - 5:26 am

    They are probably talking about anal cancer which can affect both men and women, and is preventable by HPV vaccination. I currently have a patient with anal cancer who has been told that her children should be vaccinated against HPV, including her boys as it would have prevented her cancer. Anal cancer is not uncommon, is a form of genital cancer, and definitely can be lethal.

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