The exact cause of penis cancer is unknown. The chances of developing cancer of the penis may be increased by certain risk factors.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common virus that most sexually active people will have been exposed to. It can cause genital warts, which increase the risk of cancer of the penis.
Smoking can increase the risk of cancer of the penis.
Having a tight foreskin that will not pull back easily (phimosis) can irritate or cause inflammation of the skin of the penis. Cancer of the penis is less common in men who are circumcised (have all or part of their foreskin removed), but the reason for this isn’t clear.
Some skin conditions that affect the penis may develop into cancer if left untreated. Always see your doctor if you have white or red scaly patches on the head of the penis, or red moist patches of skin on your penis.
Cancer of the penis cannot be passed on to other people.