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Erythroplasia of queyrat is a type of skin cancer of the penis, seen most commonly in men who are not circumcised. It usually is not aggressive but can become locally invasive, and it is advisable for a man who might have this condition to receive prompt treatment. Men who have erythroplasia of queyrat might initially notice redness and irritation before discolored lesions develop. The skin sometimes turns puffy and might crack and split.
This condition is a form of squamous cell carcinoma that develops in the upper cells of the epithelium. It is also known as Bowen's disease of the penis and can be linked to sun or chemical exposure, although not always. Some men have coinfections with conditions such as human papillomavirus (HPV), which might complicate treatment. This condition typically appears in older men and is sometimes identified late, after the neighboring lymph nodes are already involved.
The early signs of erythroplasia of queyrat can look like mild irritation or a flareup of a sexually transmitted infection. Patients should take note of skin changes anywhere on the body, including the penis, and should seek attention if the changes spread, do not go away or progress. Mild redness might not necessarily be a sign of disease, but if it spreads, the skin changes texture or the lesion starts seeping fluid, this is a sign of a medical issue. Men who have a history of sexually transmitted infections might also want to be aware that the inflammation associated with such conditions can predispose them to cancers later in life.
A doctor can evaluate a patient and take a small skin scraping for biopsy. A pathologist can look at this sample under a microscope to determine what kinds of cellular changes are occurring and can make a recommendation for treatment. In the case of what appears to be an aggressive, invasive cancer, the pathologist might recommend skipping to harsher treatments. More mild cases of erythroplasia of queyrat that are caught early can be treatable by conservative means, which might be less traumatic for the patient.
Conservative treatment for erythroplasia of queyrat involves the topical application of creams to address the condition. Some patients might also take oral chemotherapy to limit the spread of the cancerous cells. If these measures are not sufficient, a surgery to remove the cancerous skin might be required. In the surgery, the surgeon will also remove the margins to limit the chance of recurrence. If the cancer has progressed well into the tissue of the penis, the patient might need reconstructive surgery to repair the shape and appearance of his penis.