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 don't 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. These are possible risk factors for this type of cancer:

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

  • Certain diseases, such as urethral diverticulum or urethral caruncle in women and urethral stricture in men

  • Other cancers of the urinary tract, such as bladder cancer

  • History of radiation therapy in the pelvic area

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or history of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • 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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
© 2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.