Men with a bent penis have a significantly increased risk from several cancers, according to a new study.
It found that it brought a higher risk of testicular cancer by 40 percent, melanoma by 29 percent and stomach cancer by 40 percent.
Researchers from Texas suggest a gene that may trigger crooked penises could also be linked to the development of tumors.
The condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, which is estimated to affect up to seven percent of males.
The findings were presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, after a review of patient data of more than 1.5 million by Baylor College in Houston.
The team behind the research said men with Peyronie’s should be closely monitored for cancer in a bid to catch any development early.
But British said further research was needed to justify wide-scale routine screening.
Dr Alexander Pastuszak, who led the study, said: ‘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.
‘Nobody has made these associations before.’
The researchers carried out further genetic analysis of a father and son both suffering from Peyronie’s. They discovered they shared a set of genes understood to predispose people to urological cancers.
‘We found mutations in this father and son couplet in these types of genes specifically in melanoma, testis, and prostate cancer,’ said Dr Pastuszak.
Dr Pastuszak said the condition share some similarities with Dupuytren’s disease, a condition in which one or more fingers become permanently bent in a flexed position.
They also found links with Ledderhose disease, a thickening of tissue on the feet.
‘While we still need to validate some of these findings and translate them from the lab to the clinical population, these data do provide a strong link both clinically and at the genetic level between PD and Dupuytren’s – these fibrosing conditions – and malignancies in men,’ he added.
According to researchers from the University of Istanbul, Peyronie’s is believed to affect between 3.7 percent and 7.1 percent of men, ‘but the actual prevalence of the disease may be higher because of patients’ reluctance to report this embarrassing condition to their physicians’.
A spokesperson from Cancer Research UK, said: ‘It’s not yet fully understood what causes Peyronie’s disease and it’s possible it shares some similar risk factors to cancer.
‘Screening for cancer isn’t always beneficial and comes with harms, so it’s essential screening programmes are backed by robust evidence.’
WHAT CAUSES PEYRONIE’S DISEASE?
The cause of Peyronie’s disease isn’t completely understood, but a number of factors appear to be involved.
It’s thought it generally results from repeated injury to the penis. For example, the penis might be damaged during sex, athletic activity or as the result of an accident. However, most often, no specific trauma to the penis is recalled.
During the healing process, scar tissue forms in a disorganized manner, which might then lead to a nodule that you can feel or development of curvature.
In Peyronie’s disease, when the penis becomes erect, the region with the scar tissue doesn’t stretch, and the penis bends or becomes disfigured and possibly painful.
In some men, Peyronie’s comes on gradually and doesn’t seem to be related to an injury.
Researchers are investigating whether the disease might be linked to an inherited trait or certain health conditions.
Source: Mayo Clinic