Having a curved penis might have its benefits in the bedroom, but a new study has found that those who have this condition are at a higher risk of cancer.
The research, which was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, looked at more than 1.5 million men and found a significant connection between Peyronie's disease — a condition that causes men to have a bent, erect penis — and stomach, skin, and testicular cancers.
Peyronie's disease is caused when scar tissue, known as plaque, forms inside the soft tissue of the penis causing it to curve when erect. This can be painful for some and can even cause erectile dysfunction.
Though Medical News Today reports that the scar tissue in the penis is not cancerous, the new study found noteworthy connections to urological cancers.
After reviewing data from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, researchers determined that those with Peyronie's disease, also known as a penile fibrosis, had an increased risk of testicular cancer by 40 per cent. Additionally, these men have a 29 per cent greater risk of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) and a 40 per cent increased likelihood of stomach cancer.
"Nobody has made these associations before," said urologist and study lead, Dr. Alexander Pastuszak, according to The Telegraph.
"We think this is important because these conditions are largely taken for granted," he continued. "While they're significant in the sexual and reproductive life-cycles of these patients, linking them to other disorders suggest that these men should be monitored for development of these disorders disproportionately in contrast to the rest of the population."
If you have a curved penis, don't panic just yet. According to Medical Daily, it's common for men to have a slight bend in their shaft, since the human body is rarely symmetrical.
Dr. Pastuszak also backed this up, saying, "A slight curve can be normal. There is some curvature in all penises."
Additionally, men who have Peyronie's disease running in their family may have cause for concern, since certain genes associated with the condition can also be found in urological cancers.
"It's not yet fully understood what causes Peyronie's disease and it's possible it shares some similar risk factors to cancer," Emma Shields, of the British charity Cancer Research U.K., told The Telegraph.
Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include a significant bend in the shaft, flat lumps felt under the skin of the penis (which is the scar tissue), erection problems, a shortening of the penis, and pain, the Mayo Clinic reports.