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The mother of a 6-year-old boy was concerned because there was a whitish mass between the glans and foreskin of her son's penis. She thought that this might be an accumulation of “pus.”

The whitish mass was smegma, which is composed of desquamated epithelial cells and sebaceous gland secretions. The accumulation of smegma is simply part of the physiologic retraction of the foreskin. Smegma helps dissect the space between the glans and foreskin and also prevents readherence.

There is some evidence that smegma may be carcinogenic, but the subject is still very controversial. Regular gentle retraction of the prepuce and meticulous foreskin hygiene may facilitate removal of the material.

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