October 18, 2017
Bladder Cancer in Men

Bladder Cancer in Men

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer among men. The incidence rate is three times greater among men than among women (in 2013, an estimated 55,000 men compared with 18,000 women were diagnosed with bladder cancer). Smokers have two to three times the risk of nonsmokers— and because nearly 90 percent of bladder cancers are diagnosed in people over 55, men’s greater exposure to cigarettes two and three decades ago may partly account for the higher incidence.

But some evidence suggests that male sex hormones play a role in the disease—which may explain why, even as women’s smoking rates caught up with men’s, their rates of bladder cancer continued to lag significantly behind. Another risk factor is exposure to certain industrial chemicals containing carcinogens, which are used, for example, in the dye, rubber and leather industries.

Bladder cancer is highly curable when detected at an early stage. But no reliable screening test for bladder cancer has been developed. Routine urinalysis can detect blood in the urine—often the first sign of bladder cancer—but has not been found to detect more bladder cancers. Therefore, general screening for bladder cancer is not recommended by any professional organization.

What to do: At present, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is the best way of detecting the cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. Symptoms include blood in the urine (turning urine a rusty to deep red color), pain during urination and urinary frequency or urgency. These symptoms are usually caused by conditions other than cancer—but anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you smoke, quitting reduces your risk of bladder cancer by 40 percent after only four years.