Genetics, coupled with increased consumption of tobacco products, may explain the reason why men are more prone to bladder cancer, experts said here on Sunday.
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer worldwide and the fourth most prevalent cancer among men, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). About 550,000 new cases are detected every year worldwide.
The disease develops when bladder tissue cells begin to separate uncontrollably, and the incidence of bladder cancer is higher in males compared to females.
India has about 21,000 new cases of bladder cancer, and the incidence has been increasing over the last few years.
A recent report from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) showed that Delhi has the highest cases of bladder cancer, followed by Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata. Delhi also has the highest incidence of bladder cancer in females followed by Mumbai and Mizoram.
"Bladder cancer ranks among the top 10 types of cancer affecting thousands of people in India annually. While it can occur in both men and women, men are more commonly affected, likely due to genetics and lifestyle," Dr Bhaskar Singh, from HCG NCHRI Cancer Centre - Nagpur, told IANS.
"Consumption of tobacco is a common reason for the increasing incidence of bladder cancer in India. The other reason is exposure to aromatic amines and carbon black dust in rubber, leather, and dye industries. The smokers have three-four times higher risk of bladder cancer as compared to non-smokers," added Dr (Brig) A.K. Dhar, Senior Consultant Medical and Hemato Oncology, American Oncology Institute, Gurugram.
Dhar stated that the incidence of bladder cancer is four times higher in males as compared to females.
Another reason behind increased risk among men include the role of sex hormones.
"It is believed that androgen promotes, and oestrogen inhibits bladder carcinogenesis in the progression phase," Dhar told IANS.
In addition, men who undergo radiation therapy for prostate cancer also have an increased risk of bladder cancer, the expert noted.
However, changing some lifestyle habits can lower the risk of bladder cancer.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do, as smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for bladder cancer.
"Tobacco is responsible for 40-50 per cent of bladder cancer. Quitting all kinds of tobacco will help in reduction of bladder cancer," Dhar said.
Staying hydrated and avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals, such as those in certain industrial or agricultural settings, can also help reduce risk.
Regular screenings can also greatly increase the chances of successful treatment, as bladder cancer is often easier to treat in its early stages.
"If you experience symptoms such as blood in your urine, pain during urination, or frequent urination, it's important to see a doctor immediately. Several conditions can cause these symptoms, but it's important to rule out bladder cancer as a potential cause," Singh said.