Men and Bladder Cancer
When it comes to the focus on cancer by sex, the most widely known differences are found in breast cancer primarily being associated with women, and prostate cancer largely considered a men’s health issue. Another cancer with a significant disparity between men and women, and one not largely known for that fact, is bladder cancer. Men are four times as likely as women to get bladder cancer.
With May being Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, looks at theories as to why bladder cancer is more common in men, along with ways to reduce risks for bladder and other cancers.
It is important to note that increased awareness for diseases, such as bladder cancer, are critical in driving early diagnoses that lead to better treatment outcomes. Most bladder cancer diagnoses, when found in early stages, are highly treatable.
History of Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Bladder Cancer Awareness Month was first recognized by the U.S. Congress in May 2015 as a Senate Resolution sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, and was the result of hard work by the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) to bring more attention to the disease. BCAN has been organizing the annual Walk for Bladder Cancer event since May 2011, with 2021’s walk being held, nationwide, on May 1.
Comprehensive considers the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network a valuable resource, for the bladder cancer community of patients, caregivers, survivors, advocates, medical and research professionals to unite in support of people touched by bladder cancer. Since its founding in 2005, BCAN has been on the frontlines advocating for greater public awareness and increased funding for research to identify effective treatments and eventually, a cure.
Every year, but with a focus during May’s Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, BCAN provides patients, caregivers and the medical community with the educational resources and support services necessary to navigate their cancer journey. BCAN works collaboratively to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and empower the patient community by allowing them to share experiences with others, and to participate in building awareness of the need for a cure.
Why Does Bladder Cancer Affect More Men than Women?
Bladder cancer begins when cells in the bladder mutate and grow out of control. These mutations change DNA directives, encouraging cells to multiply rapidly and to continue living when normal, unaffected, healthy cells would die. These cells form tumors that invade and harm body tissue. When left untreated, these cells can spread throughout the body.Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, but again is far less common in women. The differences, as they can be identified through research, show that the leading cause is hormonal with varying factors affecting these hormones. While research for causes for these hormonal variances is still emerging, early theories suggest that hormonal changes may be traced to exposure to chemicals that affect men differently than women.
For men, increased exposure to chemicals, through manufacturing jobs is seen as potential differentiator. This includes being around chemicals including arsenic as well as elements used in the manufacturing and use of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products. Further, jobs using these materials (e.g. painting houses, working on cars, etc.) are mostly populated by men, adding additional risk factors more applicable to them.
As research continues on causes of bladder cancer and why there is an increase in diagnoses among men, physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers urge caution when working with chemicals. Healthier living may also help to reduce risks for bladder cancer or other types of cancer. There are several ways to integrate healthy changes into your life are outlined below.
Healthy Changes to Combat Bladder Cancer
Avoid Smoking – Research into the link between the differences in bladder cancer risks between men and women due to smoking is as of yet inclusive but it has been found. Stopping smoking, or not ever starting smoking or using e-cigarettes, remains a catch-all method for reducing health risks of all kinds.
Know and Share Family History – If blood relatives have had bladder cancer, an individual’s risk for the cancer is elevated. If this is the case, be sure to make your physician aware and start screening as soon as is recommended to find cancer as soon as possible, if it presents.
Pay Attention to Your Body – Notice anything that appears to be irregular with your urinary tract, including blood in urine, frequent urination or back pain? Do not shrug it off and make sure to tell your doctor about these issues. A key factor in men’s success rates with treated cancers is found in early diagnosis. Do not wait to get diagnosed if you think there could be problem.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients who’ve been referred to the practice with bladder cancer. Our practice has great success in treating cancers that are diagnosed early, including bladder cancer. Be sure to pay attention to risk factors, and take charge of your health, not only just during Bladder Cancer Awareness month, but all year long. To schedule an appointment with Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.