Can Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Cause Cancer
Researchers have long tried to identify the causes of various types of cancer, especially as incidences of cancer become more frequent. Are these individuals doing something to cause cancer? Are they predisposed because of a hereditary factor, or perhaps due to some malfunction in the DNA? Bladder cancer is one of those big question marks in the eyes of science and medicine.
How Can I Prevent Bladder Cancer
You may not be able to prevent bladder cancer, but it may be helpful to know the risk factors that may increase the chance youll develop bladder cancer. Bladder cancer risk factors may include:
- Smoking cigarettes: Cigarette smoking more than doubles the risk of developing bladder cancer. Smoking pipes and cigars or being exposed to second-hand smoke also increases that risk.
- Cancer treatments: Radiation therapy is the second-most common risk factor. People who have certain chemotherapy drugs may also develop an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Exposure to certain chemicals: People who work with chemicals, such as aromatic amines , are at an increased risk. Extensive exposure to rubber, leather, some textiles, paint and hairdressing supplies, typically related to occupational exposure, also appears to increase the risk.
- Infections: People who have frequent bladder infections, bladder stones or other urinary tract diseases may have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Past bladder cancer: People with a previous bladder cancer are at increased risk to form new or recurrent bladder tumors.
What Should I Do If Im Having Repeated Utis
It may be difficult to determine if repeated UTIs immediately preceding a bladder cancer diagnosis are accurately diagnosed UTIs or if they are manifestations of the underlying cancer. If you are having repeated UTIs and have not received any other diagnosis but are concerned about your cancer risk, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about other diagnostic tests. Tests of the urine, even after UTI treatment or after bleeding during urination has subsided, may help indicate that a different, underlying condition is causing your symptoms.5 If you are having repeated UTIs and have received a diagnosis of bladder cancer, consult your doctor or healthcare provider to determine if there are any treatment options available for your situation, and to determine if any symptoms you are having are related to your bladder cancer or its treatment.
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Why Utis Keep Coming Back
It is estimated that 50% of women who encounter a UTI go on to experience a recurrence of infection within a year3. Some individuals have multiple UTI episodes throughout their life, and a few suffer from chronic UTIs. Factors that may increase the chance of UTI recurrence include:
- Sexual intercourse
- Certain types of birth control, particularly diaphragms and spermicidal agents
- Inherent predisposition: some women have urinary tracts that are more prone to bacterial invasion
- Anatomical abnormalities or blockages in the urinary tract
- Immune suppression caused by diseases such as diabetes
- Post-menopausal changes in the vaginal lining and in the ability of the bladder to contract
Do Frequent Urinary Tract Infections Lead To Bladder Cancer
If you experience frequent urinary tract infections, is that a sign that you might have bladder cancer or might get it in the future?
Not typically, according to Tessa Flores, MD, Medical Director of Cancer Survivorship and Screening at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
While a urinary tract infection and bladder cancer can produce similar symptoms, Dr. Flores says, having frequent UTIs doesnt mean you have bladder cancer.
There is preliminary data that there might be an association between recurrent UTIs and a specific and rare type of bladder cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, she says. But typically, no, having UTIs doesnt mean you have bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. It occurs when cells that make up the bladder lining begin to grow abnormally. As the abnormal cells multiply, they form a cluster called a tumor.
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What Is Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer that starts in the lining of your bladder. Your bladder is a small hollow organ that holds your pee . Healthcare providers have many ways to treat bladder cancer, including surgery to remove bladder cancer. Bladder cancer may come back after treatment, so people with bladder cancer should be vigilant about following up with their healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers can treat early-stage bladder cancer cancer thats found and treated before it can spread but about 75% of early-stage bladder cancers come back.
How does this condition affect my body?
Your bladder is a triangle-shaped organ thats centered between your hip bones, above your urethra and below your kidneys. Pee from your kidneys drains into your bladder, which is lined with tissue called urothelium. Urothelium is made of cells that stretch when your bladder fills with pee and collapses when its empty.
Bladder cancer happens when certain cells in the tissue lining your bladder mutate or change, becoming abnormal cells that multiply and cause tumors in your bladder. Left untreated, bladder cancer may grow through your bladder walls to nearby lymph nodes and then other areas of your body, including your bones, lungs or liver.
What are bladder cancer types?
There are three types of bladder cancer. Each type is named for the cells that line the wall of your bladder where the cancer started. Bladder cancer types include:
How common is bladder cancer?
What Is Chronic Cystitis
Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. Chronic cystitis is a long-lasting inflammation of the bladder.
The cause of cystitis is typically a urinary tract infection when bacteria enter the bladder or urethra and multiply. A UTI can become a serious problem if the bacteria spread to your kidneys.
A kidney infection can lead to , an extreme and potentially deadly reaction to an infection.
Symptoms of chronic or interstitial cystitis may come and go. The intensity varies depending on the severity of your flare-ups.
Symptoms of chronic cystitis include:
- pressure in the bladder
The exact cause of chronic cystitis is unknown. However, people with cystitis sometimes find that certain things trigger a flare-up of symptoms. Some causes of flare-ups include:
- sexual intercourse
- holding urine for too long
- wearing form-fitting pants
Since theres no known cure for chronic cystitis, treatment plans work to relieve symptoms and improve the daily life of a person with cystitis.
Lifestyle changes, medication, or physical therapy are among the recommended treatment options.
Doctors also suggest keeping track of when your symptoms flare up. For example, if you drink coffee and your pain increases, your doctor may recommend avoiding caffeine.
Lifestyle changes may include:
- reducing stress
- increasing physical activity
Bladder training includes:
These measures will train your brain to wait more time before urging you to urinate.
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Facts About Bladder Cancer In Women
While bladder cancer typically hasnt been associated with women, it is important to understand the unique way that bladder cancer does affect women, and why its critical that bladder cancer isnt overlooked.
- Approximately 50% of cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still in the bladder. However, that percentage is lower in women, because symptoms are often overlooked.
- Women have a 1 in 89 chance of developing bladder cancer in their lifetime . However, bladder cancer in women is on the rise.
- Approximately 90% of bladder cancer cases are in individuals over 55 years old, so it is important to be extra vigilant of early signs of bladder cancer as you age.
- Bladder cancer has a high recurrence rate. If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, it is important to continue to receive regular exams in order to handle any potential recurrence.
Utis And Bladder Cancer Have Some Similar Symptoms
The most common symptoms of UTIs are also common symptoms of bladder cancer, such as blood in the urine, a burning sensation when urinating, and painful urination.1,2 Up to 80% of all UTIs occur in women, and roughly 50% of all women will experience at least one UTI with accompanying symptoms in their lifetime.3 Its also possible for a UTI to recur, as well as for an individual to have multiple UTIs throughout their life. Additionally, some individuals may experience chronic UTIs.
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Persistent Uti Symptoms May Signal Bladder Cancer
May 21, 2015 Urinary tract infection symptoms that donât improve with time or treatment could point to bladder cancer, a new study suggests.
That finding applies to both men and women, said lead researcher Kyle Richards, MD, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, during a press conference at the American Urological Association 2015 Annual Meeting.
Awareness is especially important when it comes to women, he said, because bladder cancer is more commonly associated with men.
A lot of primary care doctors who are seeing these patients are less aware that bladder cancer is even a possibility in women, he said.
And he said that because the most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, also called âhematuria,â UTI-like symptoms donât always raise suspicion.
In their first-of-its-kind study, Richards and his colleagues looked at data on 9,326 men and 2,869 women who were diagnosed with blood in the urine or a UTI in the year before they were diagnosed with bladder cancer. The researchers found that bladder cancer diagnoses take longer and health outcomes are worse in men and women who have UTIs than in men with blood in the urine.
The average time from initial symptoms to bladder cancer diagnosis was longer in women than in men. A closer look at the data suggested that UTIs were the reason for this.
Also, both men and women who had a UTI were more likely to have more-advanced cancer at diagnosis than men who had blood in the urine.
Can Bacterial Infections Lead To Cancer
Bacterial infections and cancer, now thats a connection that has mystified and challenged science for ages. Nineteenth century New York surgeon William Coley, better known as the Father of Cancer Immunology, was the first to suggest that parasitic microorganisms could cause cancer. The 20th century saw several controversies around the bacteriacancer conundrum. The bacterial theory of cancer was finally proven in the early 2000s when cancer biologists established a link between the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer.
Today, research shows a clear connection between bacteria, the inflammation they cause, and several kinds of cancer. In fact, around 1520% of all cancers can be traced to chronic inflammation.1
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Common Symptoms Of Uti And Bladder Cancer
The symptoms of bladder cancer may be similar to those of a urinary tract infection making a timely diagnosis difficult. Below are the symptoms of UTI and Bladder Cancer, there are a few early warning signs that can distinguish between UTIs and Bladder Cancer.
- Urinating frequently
- Dark Urine, as well as a burning sensation while urinating.
- Pain in the kidneys, i.e. in the lower back or below the ribs
- Discomfort in the bladder region
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If You Are Concerned About Bladder Cancer Speak To Your Doctor About Cxbladder
Early detection saves lives and is a crucial factor when it comes to the treatment of bladder cancer. Cxbladder is a clinically proven cutting-edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer in patients presenting with blood in the urine and those being monitored for recurrence. The test works at a molecular level, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
Cxbladder is discreet, quick and non-invasive. It comes as a suite of test options, each optimized for a different point in the patient journey.
- Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help rapidly rule out the disease.
- Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Monitor: Optimized for bladder cancer surveillance, reducing the need for further invasive tests
Cxbladder gives you peace of mind and will help your doctor make informed treatment decisions. Speak to your general practitioner or urologist to learn more about Cxbladder and which test might be right for you. You can also contact our Customer Service Team directly.Learn more about Cxbladder Contact Us for more information
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How Many Is Too Many Utis
Three or more UTIs in one year indicates a recurrent infection, according to the ACOG.
Recurrent urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. A week or two after you finish the antibiotic treatment, your doctor may perform a urine test to make sure the infection is cured.
Your doctor may also ask you about factors that increase the risk of a recurrent UTI, including:
- Young age at first UTI
How Is A Chronic Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed
If you have a chronic UTI, you probably had a UTI in the past.
Performing lab tests on a sample of urine is the most common method doctors use to diagnose UTIs. A medical professional will examine the sample of urine under a microscope, looking for signs of bacteria.
In a urine culture test, a technician places a urine sample in a tube to encourage the growth of bacteria. After one to three days, theyll look at the bacteria to determine the best treatment.
If your doctor suspects kidney damage, they may order X-rays and kidney scans. These imaging devices take pictures of parts inside your body.
If you have recurring UTIs, your doctor may want to perform a cystoscopy. In this procedure, theyll use a cystoscope. Its a long, thin tube with a lens at the end used to look inside your urethra and bladder. Your doctor will look for any abnormalities or issues that could cause the UTI to keep coming back.
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An Immune System Response
Another theory is that developing a UTI promotes an immune system response in the body aimed at the urinary system that could also protect against bladder cancer. In addition to destroying bacterial invaders, the immune system may recognize cancerous cells that are developing and destroy these as well. This is similar to the mechanism of action behind the BCG vaccine treatment which initiates an immune system response against cancerous cells.8
Link Between Uti And Bladder Cancer
UTIs are classified into two types: cystitis and urethritis. A bladder infection is referred to as cystitis while urethritis is a urethral infection. Even though UTIs are extremely common, they must be taken seriously when it is a recurrent condition. The symptoms of UTI are very similar to that of Bladder Cancer and it can become a potential cause for delay in diagnosis. If diagnosed early, bladder cancer is highly treatable and can be cured.
The bladder is a hollow, flexible pouch located in the lower abdomen. Its primary function is to store urine before it exits the body. Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that starts in the bladder cells. Bladder cancer typically begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder . Urothelial cells can also be found in the kidneys and the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder . Urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters, but it is far more common in the bladder.
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Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Whos at risk for bladder cancer? Its four times more likely to be diagnosed in men than women. Smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop bladder cancer. The risk also increases for people who work in industries that involve cancer-causing chemicals, including pesticides, dyes, rubber, metal, paint, printing inks, leather and some hairdressing solutions. And people with a family history of bladder cancer or who have had prior cancer treatment involving certain drugs or radiation to the pelvis are at increased risk.
To lower your risk, dont smoke, and limit your occupational exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
Can Utis Increase The Risk Of Bladder Cancer
Several studies have investigated whether UTIs may be a risk factor for bladder cancer.
- Epidemiological studies that have examined evidence of an association between UTIs and urothelial carcinoma have to date produced varying results.3,13,14 Some data indicates there may be an increased risk in individuals who experience previous UTIs,3,14 whereas other findings suggest that previous UTIs could have a protective effect against bladder cancer, possibly due to an anti-cancer effect of the antibiotics used in their treatment.3,13,14
- Colibactin, a bacterial toxin that can damage DNA, is suspected to play a role in some types of cancer. Researchers have recently detected colibactin production in E. coli isolated from the urine of patients with UTIs.15 Furthermore, in the urinary tracts of mice infected with colibactin-producing E. coli, DNA damage in bladder cells was observed .
- Preliminary data appears to support a link between recurrent UTIs and increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder.16 However, as squamous cell carcinoma is a rare type of bladder cancer , the overall impact of this potential association would be relatively minor.
It may be concluded that the extent of any direct relationship between UTIs and bladder cancer is yet to be fully determined. However, it is clear that a major bladder cancer risk associated with recurrent UTIs in women is that of delayed diagnosis, caused by the extensive overlap in symptoms between the two conditions.
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What Can Mimic A Uti
So, if it’s not a UTI, what else could it be? Several other infectious and non-infectious disease processes can cause symptoms that mimic a UTI. These include conditions such as vaginitis, overactive bladder, and kidney stones some sexually transmitted infections and diseases such as bladder cancer. Due to the potentially serious consequences of many of these alternate diagnoses, it is important that recurrent UTI-like symptoms are thoroughly investigated.