Cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) resulted in the death of around 4.6 million men worldwide in 2012. Around 14% of the world’s total annual deaths are as a result of various cancers. Modern medicine has extended the life expectancy of a cancer patient by a great margin. However newer cases are diagnosed every year globally, the present rate stands at 7.4 million newly diagnosed males annually, according to the WHO. This is commonly as a result of the changing lifestyles, unhealthy diet, hereditary factors and exposure to carcinogenic elements, cigarette smoking, etc. Male specific cancers include: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and penile cancer. Among which prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of male cancer. Male specific cancers are generally benign/malignant tumors that rarely undergo metastasis.
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Penile cancers are an even rarer form of cancer specific to the male reproductive organ i.e. penis, but unlike prostate and testicular cancer, they are commonly as a result of human papiloma virus (HPV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. According to the U.S National Cancer Institute study roughly 40% of all penile cancer is as a result of HPV infections, whereas HIV patients exhibit eight time increased risk of penile cancer. Hence penile cancer rates are high in developing countries of Africa, South Asia and South America. This is probably why vaccination for HPV virus (Gardasil or Cervarix) is regarded by a share of expert medical practitioners as a preventive measure in decreasing penile cancer rates globally. The incidence rate for penile cacner is found higher in men above 30 years of age, Penile cancer is majorly categorized as squamous cell carcinoma, as a large majority of penile cancer patients have exhibited this form. Other even rare types include intraepithelial neoplasia, bowenoid papulosis and invasive carcinoma of the penis.
The diagnosis of penile cancer is initially done by physical examination of the penis, this is followed by the biopsy of the outgrowth i.e. wart/ papules or skin abscess. Staging of the penile malignancy is done further to establish a timeline of disease progression. Chemotherapy, antiviral therapy and surgical excision are the common mode of treatment for penile cancer. Surgical methods are classified on the type of procedure apt to remove the tumor; circumcision, microsurgery, excision, or penectomy (castration) are the generally followed procedures. Radiation is used to prevent any reoccurrence, although the procedure can render the patient infertile.
That said, the market for male cancer therapeutics is highly fragmented hence not easily quantifiable, however the surgery and overall treatment market remains in millions of USD, with new diagnostic screening procedures and drug combinations being patented every year, each having their own market segment. With entry of Asian players the prices too are bound to decrease, thereby potentially increasing the overall therapeutics market.
The North American market is the highest market by volume, followed by Europe, as in these regions the number of reported cases are high in number, and so is the affordability of drugs. In developing markets of Asia and South America, their poor hygiene standards, presence of a large HIV patient population along with their overall increasing population size make for a large market, however unavailability of affordable diagnostic procedures and therapeutic drugs is thought to be the major reason why diagnosis is few in number and why the markets haven’t been proliferated as of yet. The rest of the world region is also bound to follow a similar pattern with increased awareness and diagnostic rates, the number of diagnosed individuals undergoing therapy in this region is however very small.
Some of the major companies manufacturing HPV vaccines include: GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Novartis AG, MercK & Co, etc to name a few.