Urethral Cancer: Risk Factors

March 21, 2017

Urethral Cancer: Risk Factors

What is a risk factor? 

A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of having a disease. Risk factors for a certain type of cancer might include smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. The exact cause of someone’s cancer may not be known. But risk factors can make it more likely for a person to have cancer.

Things you should know about risk factors for cancer:

  • Risk factors can increase a person's risk, but they do not necessarily cause the disease.

  • Some people with 1 or more risk factors never develop cancer. Other people can develop cancer and have no risk factors.

  • Some risk factors are very well known. But there is ongoing research about risk factors for many types of cancer.

Some risk factors, such as family history, may not be in your control. But others may be things you can change. Knowing the risk factors can help you make choices that might lower your risk. For example, if an unhealthy diet is a risk factor, you may choose to eat healthy foods. If excess weight is a risk factor, your healthcare provider may check your weight or help you lose weight.

Who is at risk for urethral cancer?

Since urethral cancer is so rare, it can be hard for healthcare providers to find risk factors for the disease. The following are possible risk factors for this type of cancer:

  • Chronic irritation or inflammation of the urinary tract due to repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

  • Having certain diseases. These include urethral diverticulum or urethral carucle in women, and urethral strictures in men.

  • Other cancers of the urinary tract. These can include bladder cancer.

  • History of radiation therapy in the pelvic area

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or history of other STDs

  • Being African American

What are your risk factors?

Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for urethral cancer and what you can do about them.


March 21, 2017

Reviewed By:  

Goodman, Howard, MD,Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS