Smoking and Urological Cancers: What You Need To Know

Smoking and Urological Cancers: What You Need To Know

Smoking does not just impact your general health, but also your urological wellbeing. Here is what you need to know about cigarette smoking and urological cancers.

Smoking does not just impact your general health, but also your urological wellbeing. Here is what you need to know about cigarette smoking and urological cancers.

The harmful effects of tobacco and smoking are well-documented and recognised. Many people know of the dangerous carcinogens in cigarette smoke and the link between smoking and lung cancer. But smoking is also closely linked to a number of urological cancers.

Cancers caused by smoking are greatly preventable but are still responsible for millions of deaths per year. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes impact almost every aspect of the body, including the urinary system and reproductive organs. This means smoking is a major risk factor for bladder, kidney, prostate and testicular cancer.

If you are concerned about any of these conditions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an assessment.

Bladder Cancer

The bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis, around the size of a pear. The bladder receives urine from the kidneys and stores it for excretion. Bladder cancer develops when abnormal cells mutate and grow more rapidly than normal cells.

Various carcinogens are taken into the body when cigarette smoke is inhaled. According to studies, smokers triple their risk of developing bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is preventable as smoking is the main cause of malignancy. One recent study shows that quitting smoking for 1 to 4 years results in a 30% decrease in the risk of bladder cancer. This risk continues to fall dramatically for up to 25 years.

Symptoms of bladder cancer may include:

• Blood in urine
• Trouble urinating
• A burning sensation while urinating
• Frequent need to urine
• Pain in the lower back or abdomen

Kidney Cancer

The kidneys filter water from your blood, produce urine and maintain mineral levels in your bloodstream. Kidney cancer develops when abnormal cells in the kidney start mutating and grow more rapidly than normal cells.

One of the biggest risks for developing kidney cancer is smoking. Smoking can double your risk of kidney cancer. Studies show people who quit smoking for 20 years reduce their risk of renal cell carcinoma (the most common type of kidney cancer) to that non-smokers.

Sometimes kidney cancer can develop without causing any obvious symptoms. Early warning signs of kidney cancer to be aware of include:

• Blood in urine
• Lower back pain
• A mass of lump on the side or back of the abdomen
• Fatigue and anaemia
• Loss of appetite and weight loss
• Swollen legs or ankles

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells mutate and grow more rapidly than normal cells.

Prostate cancer is typically slow growing. It often will not present symptoms until advanced stages. Risk factors include genetics, age, family history, diet and lifestyle. However, exposure to toxins found in cigarette smoke is also a key factor.

Studies have shown smoking can result in inflammation of the prostate, increasing the risk of cancer. When detected early, prostate cancer is highly treatable.

Warning signs of prostate cancer include:

• Blood in the urine
• Painful urination or difficulty urinating, as well as frequent urination (particularly) at night
• Reduced urinary flow
• Reduced bladder control
• Blood in the semen
Erectile dysfunction

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer develops in the testicle, caused by the abnormal growth of cells. This can occur in one or both testicles. Men under the age of 45 are more likely to develop the disease.

Studies show a close link between smoking cigarettes and testicular cancer. One recent study directly links smoking marijuana with testicular cancer.

Early detection is key to treating testicular cancer. With the highest cure rate of all cancers types, it is important to pay attention to warning signs.

Symptoms of testicular cancer include:

• A lump (testicular lump) on one or both of the testes
• Enlargement or swelling of a testicle or the scrotum
• An unusual weighty feeling in the testicle
• Pain or aching in the testicle, or scrotum
• A feeling of unevenness between the testicles
• Shrinking of the testicle
• Lower back pain or abdominal pain
• Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
• Lethargy, sweating, fever, or a general feeling of illness
• Headaches or confusion

Dr Arianayagam is an expert in the field of urological cancer surgery, and the treatment of urological conditions. He is one of the most experienced cancer surgeons in Sydney.

If you have any further questions about urological cancers and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call.

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