I’ll admit, I’m not the best about immediately seeking medical care when I notice something isn’t quite right. But, Neil Walker’s story about how a “harmless rash” actually turned out to be penile cancer is definitely a cautionary tale about the importance of getting to a doctor as quickly as possible. The spread of penis cancer eventually led to the amputation of his penis.
Neil Walker’s Cautionary Tale
The ex-firefighter noticed a discoloration and what he and his doctors thought was simply a rash on the tip of his penis. The doctor gave Neil a steroidal cream to treat it, but it didn’t work. A month later and the condition hadn’t cleared up. He (smartly) insisted his doctor perform more tests.
Lo and behold, it was penis cancer.
“I noticed a rash on the head of my penis and I was given steroid cream by doctors at first as no one thought it was anything too serious,” he said.
“It wasn’t until I returned again a month later that I was referred to the hospital and was told it was penile cancer. As soon as they told me I was shocked, because I thought it was just a rash but suddenly I was entering a battle with cancer.”
In an effort to stop the spread of the cancer, he had the tip of his penis amputated in 2014. Surgeons were able to recreate the glans, using skin from his leg. However, because he hadn’t received treatment early enough, two months later, he had to have the lymph nodes in his groin removed.
“This left me with nothing to fight off infection from the waist down, so I began contracting sepsis four times a year and constantly being on death’s door. Then, after thinking I was doing ok and completely on the mend, I noticed another rash on my penis in August 2017 and I knew the cancer had returned.
In this time, I also lost my eyesight in both eyes because of thrombolysis – which has caused complications with my further cancer treatment. In March this year, after more biopsies, I had to have my entire penis amputated and I now urinate out of a make-shift hole behind my testicles.”
Devastated, Neil now is using his story to help other men become more aware of this form of cancer, trying to bring some good out of his tragedy.
Signs of Penile Cancer
If you have any of these symptoms – GO SEE A DOCTOR. It may be nothing, but waiting can mean the difference literally between life & death.
- A growth or ulcer on the penis, especially on the glans or foreskin
- Changes in the colour of the penis
- Skin thickening on the penis
- Persistent discharge with foul odour beneath the foreskin
- Blood coming from the tip of the penis or under the foreskin
- Unexplained pain in the shaft or tip of the penis
- Irregular or growing bluish-brown flat lesions or marks beneath the foreskin or on the body of the penis
- Reddish, velvety rash beneath the foreskin
- Small, crusty bumps beneath the foreskin
- Irregular swelling at the end of the penis
Read our post – Six Penile Cancer Symptoms You Need to Pay Attention To for more info on penis cancer.