Certain factors can make one person more likely to get urethral cancer than another. These are called risk factors. However, just because a person has one or more risk factors does not mean he or she will get urethral cancer. In fact, a person can have all of the risk factors and still not develop cancer. On the other hand, a person can have no known risk factors and still get urethral cancer.
Since urethral cancer is not common, it can be hard for doctors to identify risk factors for the disease. The following are possible risk factors for urethral cancer:
Chronic irritation or inflammation of the urinary tract due to repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs) and/or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Other cancers of the urinary tract (such as bladder cancer)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or history of other STDs
Being age 60 or older
Being African American
How can a person lower his or her risk of getting urethral cancer? Doctors don't entirely understand what causes urethral cancer, so it's not entirely clear how to prevent it. It is important that people avoid or reduce risk factors such as repeated UTIs and STDs. While there is no known strategy to prevent this type of cancer, living a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating a balanced diet, drinking enough fluids, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding unprotected sex will help you stay as healthy as possible.
There are no standard screening methods used to find urethral cancer. People who have risk factors for urethral cancer, such as a history of bladder cancer, repeated UTIs, or STDs, should talk to a doctor to find out how to prevent the disease or to find out if they have the disease.