Cancer. It’s never pleasant to talk about but it’s important nonetheless. Urological cancers occur when there’s a change in DNA along the urinary tract. This mutation can result in a cancerous tumor.
The causes of urological cancers are linked to a variety of things. They could be environmental, genetic, lifestyle, etc. Fortunately, urological cancers are often caught early and can be treated quickly.
Urology relates to the urinary tract of men, women, and children, and the reproductive tract of men. The organs included are the kidneys, ureter, bladder, urethra, and (in men) the prostate, penis, testes, and scrotum. Cancer found in any of these organs would be considered a urological cancer.
What are They and Who is at Risk?
The cancers that can occur in either men or women are:
- Bladder Cancer: Both men and women can develop bladder cancer, but those most at risk are smokers. In fact, more than half of those who have developed bladder cancer are smokers. Other risk factors include exposure to certain chemicals including arsenic in water. Arsenic-free water, though, could help prevent bladder cancer. It is believed that because those who stay well hydrated flush out their bladder more often, they are getting rid of any lingering chemicals more often.
- Renal (Kidney) Cancer: Renal cancer is twice as common in men than in women. But the risk factors related to renal cancers are also often more common among men. Scientists believe that smoking is also a huge factor in renal cancer. Additionally, obesity and high blood pressure play a role, as well as some genetic factors.
The cancers that can only occur in men are:
- Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. (Skin cancer claims the top spot.) It is estimated that 1 in every 6 American men will develop prostate cancer later in life. The average age for prostate cancer is 72. The cause isn’t known, but risk factors include a family history of disease and a high-fat diet.
- Testicular Cancer: In contrast to prostate cancer, testicular cancer is most common among the younger crowd. In fact, while it is overall a rare cancer, it is the most common cancer among men between the ages of 15 and 35. The cause is unknown but risk factors include other health related issues such as an undescended testicle, abnormal development, or potentially genetic factors.
- Penile Cancer: Cancer of the penis is the rarest of men’s cancers. Older men at are higher risk of developing penile cancer, as well as those with human papillomavirus (HPV). There could also be a connection to not being circumcised and having poor genital hygiene.
The symptoms of urological cancers vary based on the type of cancer. Abnormalities and concerns can also be indicators of issues that are not cancer-related. The best way to handle any urological cancer is to catch it early! And the best way to catch it early is to make sure to get regular exams.