Symptoms and treatment options for HPV in men

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Routine screening to diagnose HPV in men is in vogue now. One major way to diagnose HPV infection is by simply examining any warts that have surfaced. When a man has higher risk of the infection, the doctor may request for a swab of the anal region for HPV.

A recurring sore throat and regular cough may be an indication of cancer of the throat. The warts appearing on any part of the body may be small or large, flat or raised, or cauliflower-shaped and appear as a bump or group of bumps in the area surrounding the penis, anus, or genitals.

It is important to know that an HPV infection is not cancer, but the infection can cause changes in the body that may lead to cancer. Cancer may not be diagnosed for years after a person is infected with HPV because the infection develops very slowly.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the location and the type of cancer.

Anal cancer:

Bleeding, discharge, pain, or itching of the anus

Swelling in the anal or groin area

Changes to bowel habits or the shape of stools

Penile cancer:

Tissue changes on the penis such as color, skin thickening, or tissue buildup

Painful or painless sores or growths on the penis that might bleed

Throat cancer:

Recurring sore throat or ear pain
Persistent coughing

Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Loss of weight

Changes in voice or hoarseness

Growth of lumps in the neck

 

Treatment Options

While no specific treatments exist for HPV, but there are treatments for the conditions caused by the infection.

Genital warts can be treated with medication, surgically removed or frozen or burned off, depending on the size, location and shape. However, getting rid of the warts does not prevent the infection from being transmitted to a sexual partner.

Anal, penile, or throat cancers are treatable with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Preventive measures

It is advisable to get vaccine and wear condoms correctly when having sex can lower the risk of getting HPV. It is however instructive to note that condoms do not offer absolute protection against HPV because HPV infects some areas that are not covered by a condom.

There are three effective HPV vaccines available to avert HPV. All three vaccines prevent infection with HPV types 16 and 18 which are the two types most linked to cancer. The three-dose HPV vaccine series is routinely recommended for boys age 11-12 years. Some groups of men are also advised to have the vaccine if they did not have the full three doses in childhood.

These include: any males through age 21 years, men through age 26 years who have sex with men and those with a weakened immune system or HIV through age 26 years.

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