Urethral cancer can spread, or metastasize, quickly to tissues surrounding the urethra and is often found in nearby lymph nodes by the time it is diagnosed. It is rare, so many are unfamiliar with the symptoms and risk factors. Educating patients who are at risk will allow for earlier detection.
The exact cause of urethral cancer remains unknown. However, research shows that people with the following risk factors are more likely than others to develop urethral cancer:
- Age: Urethral cancer is rarely found in those under 60.
- Personal history: A personal history of bladder cancer increases your risk for urethral cancer.
- Chronic inflammation of the urethra: Certain conditions cause chronic inflammation of the urethra, such as sexually transmitted disease; human papillomavirus (HPV), especially HPV type 16; and frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Race: Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with urethral cancer.