Can you get cancer of the penis and clitoris?

Dear Cecil:

Can you get cancer of the penis and clitoris?

Cecil replies:

Dear Maggie:

Not at the same time.

There is such a thing as cancer of the penis, but it is relatively rare–it accounts for only 1 or 2 percent of all male cancer cases, and it is much less likely to occur in males who are circumcised than in those who aren’t. As for cancer of the clitoris, it’s theoretically possible, but it virtually never happens that a tumor appears there and nowhere else. Generally when the clitoris is affected by cancer it is an advanced cancer of the vulva.

You-didn’t-ask-me-but-I’m-telling-you-for-your-own-good department: Medical science chronicles cases of cancer a deux, which is the contraction of cancer simultaneously or consequently by two persons who live together. Statistical evidence suggests that the sexual partners of uncircumcised males are more likely to contract cancer of the cervix than those whose partners have been circumcised.

Researchers believe that the problem isn’t so much the lack of circumcision per se, but rather inadequate personal hygiene on the part of the male. A condom or simple soap and water regularly applied will minimize the risk.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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