Friday, March 30, 2007

Penis on a Slab

There is nothing quite so disturbing to the male pathologist than a penis on the grossing bench (a grossing bench is essentially a large cutting board where we process specimens). So, why was I staring at an amputated penis yesterday? Well, men, sorry to break the news - penile cancer exists, and the treatment of some cases is total excision >:O

Here's an interesting fact: I see about 1-2 of these a year, and without fail they are uncircumcised. Draw you own conclusions, but here is mine: call the Mohel and fire up the Bris!

I have several hippie-dippy, free-love, hug-the-world-type friends. Without fail, they always ask me about circumcision when they are expecting. They also ask about home birth ("It's been done that way for hundreds of years!" Me:"Uh, and the infant and maternal mortality rate used to be ridiculously high too - so let's go with it! Sh#t-head.") After I gag at the patchouli and pot stench permanently embedded in their dread-bag and sandals, I tell them about the penis-on-the- slab. Works every time :)


  1. I'd have to imagine that penile cancer isn't completely symptom-free, and that by paying a little attention to what's going on "down there" a guy could catch the problem before it required amputation. Of course, the guy then has to overcome his natural "It's nothing - I don't need to see a doctor - a little bleeding is nothing to worry about" instincts and actually get off his butt and go to the doctor.

    Yes, I'm cringing and sitting with my legs crossed. Why do you ask? Hot dogs for lunch? No thanks...

  2. The ability for people to ignore serious medical problems is shocking. I have seen ulcerated breast cancers that have come to attention simply because they started to smell so bad (!)

    I'm going out on a limb here and putting myself on record as being firmly 'anti-penis cancer'. There, I said it.

  3. When you said "firmly 'anti-penis cancer'" I laughed. Because apparently I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy.

    I had no idea that any disease existed that would warrant such an extreme amputation! Yikes!

  4. radioactive girl: you are more mature than me by about 2 years. 'firmly', hehehe...

  5. sorry etotheipi, i'm for penis cancer, and against "the children".

  6. Put me in the "for penis cancer" and against the children camp. Seriously though, in deference to international penis awareness week, you need to have your penis inspected from the tip to the base, including the taint and ball sack to use the vernacular, at least once a week. The can be done by a very close friend, your wife or lover, or in the great commonwealth of Mass-a-choose-zits, your husband.

  7. All three of my boys were circumcised. For years, we all heard how it was butchery, mutilation, a ridiculous old religious tradition, blah, blah, blah. But apparently a recent study in Africa said that circumcision dramatically reduced the transmission of HIV! OOPS! Maybe Abraham and Moses weren't so crazy after all! I guess G-d had a good idea...

    Of course, what do you do? Drive around the mobile circumcision unit? A goat for a foreskin! Get your goat? Still, it seems like a great smack in the face to everyone who was so modern that they thought it was a ridiculous idea, and an affirmation to all of us who believed in circumcision as a prevention against cancer and disease, and as a long-cherished tradition. Take that, all of you AIDS activist hippies!


  8. Shrodingers Cat just said something that offended me.

    How can I contact your official ACLU Troll to file a complaint?

  9. john j ---Was it the "taint", "ball sack" , or "husband in Mess-a-poo-shits" that offended you. The American un-civil liberies union will only sue to protect your right to burn the flag, make religious art out of the virgin mary and elephant poo, hold NAMBLA meetings at the junior high, and spout socialist/communist rants. Every thing else, and you are on your own.

  10. Isn't the procedure called "the Bobbit"?

  11. edwin.. you do realise that by putting on a condom you nullify any effect a circumcision would have had on preventing aids.

    so what are you suggesting, that because your sons now have a slightly smaller chance at contracting aids, that they should not bother with condoms?

    my point is this... aids prevention comes from knowing your partners sexual history, and from wearing condoms.

    circumcision is a fool's way of dealing with the aids problem.

    spend your efforts educating rather than removing highly sensitive and functional body parts from your children's genitals.


  12. three out of three doctors agree at the annual confab of MDOD that the top four functions of the foreskin are...

    1. to harbor penile cancer
    2. to predispose to paraphimosis
    3. to predispose to phimosis
    4. to secret and harbor smegma

    it is, in this regard, as useful as the appendix.


  13. thats completely rediculous.

    first of all.. penile cancer is extremely rare.. and is still possible in circumcised males. not a valid reason to circumcise.

    the next two are conditions of the foreskin, so obviously removing the foreskin stops that possibility, but its about as logical as removing a finger to prevent the possibility of an ingrown fingernail in the future. point is, the majority of men will never have to deal with those problems.

    lastly.. smegma is a healthy body product that works as a natural lubricator, and helps the penis work smoothly, as long as proper hygiene is practiced. which, lets be honest, is important for more than just your penis.. you need to brush your teeth to prevent cavities.. you dont rip all the teeth out of an infant to protect them from toothaches.

  14. You think the issue has been (ahem) "disposed of"?

    Stroll over to Flea some time and check out the comments to my posts about circumcision.

    Nasty stuff.



  15. dear joel,
    please provide your address and i will send you all the smegma i scrape from the glans of the penile cancer specimens that i dissect.

  16. Joel

    Are you kidding me? How naive are you? Lets once again look at the data which associates a higher rate of johnson-rod cancer with uncircumsctibed males.
    And then "genius" lets also consider the well known fact that circumsized dudes get much more trim! Hello.. please help me understand your logic??

    Board Certied Plastic Surgeon

  17. considering how rare it is in the first place, im not willing to give up a useful body part just to slightly lower the risks.

    considering YOU never had your foreskin, i cant expect you to understand what its like to have one.

    to you, its just a piece of skin.

    but is the rest of your penis just a piece of skin to you?

    i doubt that.

    no, nothing on the penis is just a piece of skin, and i personally think that nature didnt make a mistake by including a foreskin.

    im sure if we cut off part of girls breasts, or vaginas, we could reduce a risk of cancer with them too, but i dont see any studies being done.

    your all just circumcision happy. sitting there with your scalpels... waiting for a foreskin to sever.

  18. Joel,

    If you love your foreskin so much why don't you marry it? I have no doubt the marriage has been consummated many times already.

    Reminds me of a joke... a Mohel, upon his retirement, takes all the foreskins he's ever severed into a tanner to see what can be made.

    "Make me something nice... this is my life's work" says the Mohel.

    The tanner tells him not to worry and to come back in a week.

    A week later the Mohel comes back in and the tanner presents him with a beautiful wallet.

    "That's it? All those foreskins and just a wallet? (... and don't be offended it's a lovely wallet)".

    The tanner replies, "Yeah, it looks like a wallet, but if you rub it a few times it turns into a suitcase."

    Ba-Dumph. Thanks ladies and gentlemen... I'm here all weekend.