HPV Prevention in men

Is there any preventive test for penile cancer in men?

Penile cancer is more frequent in older men.

It is a very rare cancer, and there are, therefore, no recommendations for screening of the male population with any routine test. However, in any case where a man no-tices any change on his penis or displays any symptoms, he should consult his doctor. Most precancerous lesions on the penis are visible and found by the patients themselves. The color of the lesions varies (white, gray, brown, red). The lesions may be small and dispersed or there may be a solitary large lesion (diameter > 1cm). Solitary lesions are more serious when it comes to their prognosis. Lesions are more frequently found on the glans of the penis.

Is there any preventive test for anal cancer in men?

The only category of men who should be checked is men with a history of receptive anal intercourse, especially immunosuppressed men. The observation that anal cancer is 17 times more frequent in male homosexuals (especially when there is a concurrent HIV infection the risk is much higher), led American researchers to study precancerous anal lesions and anal cancer in more detail.

There is metaplastic epithelium on the anal canal, similar to the cervix, located between the cylindrical epithelium of the rectum and the squamous epithelium covering the entrance of the anal canal. Precancerous lesions and cancers caused by oncogenic types of HPV usually appear in the area with the metaplastic epithelium. It was found that a preventive Pap test or an HPV test from the anal canal will frequently detect precancerous lesions. It has not been clarified however, if finding and treating precancerous lesions contributes toward decreasing anal cancers, therefore no official recommendation by scientific societies has been made yet in order to institute this  method.

Can an HPV infection be prevented in men?

There are around 40 different genital types of HPV that infect genital organs and the anal area. Infections caused in the population by the transmission of these types of HPV during sex are very frequent. The transmissibility of the infection from one person to another is very high.

The only way to completely avoid infection by genital types of HPV is to never have any sexual contacts. This is not, however, a reasonable choice.

The use of a condom during intercourse does not offer 100% coverage, but it does significantly reduce the risk of infection and is therefore recommended.

Certain protection from specific types of HPV is offered only by the available vaccines. It is not possible, however, to produce a vaccine protecting against all genital HPV types. Therefore, the available vaccines have been manufactured to protect from the types of HPV that cause the most frequent and serious problems.

HPV vaccines are preventive. It is recommended that boys and girls aged 11-12 years old are vaccinated as a prevention. Preventive vaccination may be carried out at older ages (there have been studies that prove the efficacy of the vaccines and their safety in ages up to 26 years old). Ages 11-12 are considered ideal for vaccination, before any sexual activity has started and, therefore, before
any potential infection by certain types of HPV.