According to some American researchers, there is an actual link between gonorrhoea and bladder cancer in men.
In fact, it seems that those who have contracted this sexually transmitted infection (STI) have double the risk of suffering from bladder cancer one day. Two previous studies had already tipped researchers by suggesting there may be a link between the two diseases. These studies were conducted retrospectively, that is to say information on the infection was gathered after cancer was diagnosed. However, this latest study was prospective, meaning the scientists analysed the medical files of over 51,000 men who were known to have gonorrhoea prior to the beginning of the study.
The leader of this study believes that the inflammation in the bladder due to the bacterium that causes gonorrhoea, is the key element that could explain the link. However, other studies must be conducted to confirm if it is the infection itself or its symptoms that increase the risk of cancer. Researchers also want to exclude the possibility that gonorrhoea can act as a marker for the real cancer-causing agent, such as a separate infection, for example.
Bladder cancer affects roughly 6,400 Canadians every year. Some factors such as age, being male, smoking and exposure to certain chemical agents, increase the risk of suffering from bladder cancer. The main signs and symptoms of this cancer are blood or blood clots in the urine, bladder spasms, burning sensation or pain with urination, lower back pain, frequent urination or inability to do so, and reduced bladder capacity. It is very important to speak with your physician to get a thorough diagnosis.
Although it is still too early to establish a link of cause and effect between these two diseases, current data suggest there is some sort of link between them. The prevention of STIs remains an effective way to protect yourself, against gonorrhoea at least.