A new study has analyzed the effect of urinary frequency on the risk of bladder cancer. The research, which is published in the latest number of the International Journal of Cancer, shows a direct association between the number of times people get up at night to urinate and protection against bladder cancer.
Night-time is usually the period during which there is the longest time interval between urination. For this reason the “length of time carcinogenic agents, such as those from tobacco for example, are present in the urine, constitutes an important factor towards the likelihood of developing bladder cancer”, explains Juan Alguacil to SINC. Juan Alguacil is a researcher from the University of Huelva and one of the authors of the study, which has appeared recently in the International Journal of Cancer.
The research group, made up of Spanish and North American scientists, analysed the urinary frequency in 884 recently diagnosed bladder cancer cases and in 996 non-cancer ‘control patients’, from five regions in Spain. The patients, aged between 21 and 80 years, came from 18 hospitals in Vallιs, Barcelona, Asturias, Alicante and Tenerife.
Although the best advice is to avoid exposure to carcinogenic agents (e.g. to stop smoking and to avoid direct contact with chemical products or pollution particles), the risk of bladder cancer could be reduced by increasing urinary frequency and drinking water.
The results of the analysis indicate that those people who usually get up at night at least twice to pass urine reduced their risk of suffering from bladder cancer by 40-59%. This “protective effect” was found in both men and women and did not relate to the consumption of tobacco or the quantity of water they drank.
This is an exhaustive international study undertaken to date about the effect of urinary frequency in bladder cancer. The authors underline that “it would be necessary to transport this discovery from the laboratory to the hospital in order to achieve the prevention of almost 357,000 new cases of bladder cancer that are diagnosed every year throughout the world, and the 145,000 deaths that are caused by this cancer.
The data put forward last July in the latest session of the Spanish National Congress of Urology indicate that in Spain more than 15,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year. The incidence of this tumour, one of the highest in the world, is rising mainly due to a greater life expectancy for the population and to the increasing incidence amongst women.
According to the experts, to an extraordinary degree, the consumption of tobacco is leading to an increase of the incidence of this disease among women, which until now has been infrequent. In fact, it is estimated that in the near future the incidence of bladder cancer will be equal in both sexes, owing to the increase in the number of women who smoke. According to the conclusions of the congress, between 50 and 70% of smokers will end up developing a tumour of this type, the main warning sign of which is the appearance of blood in the urine.
- Silverman et al. Does increased urination frequency protect against bladder cancer? International Journal of Cancer, 2008; 123 (7): 1644 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.23572
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