Go to a support group and one of the most common complaints you will here is about the number of times we need to wake up from our sleep and urinate. As we age, we all find that we are constantly beating our way to the bathroom and when you have had primary prostate cancer treatment, the frequency seems to accelerate to even higher levels.
Despite the lack of sleep and the bother of waking up multiple times, a new study has found that frequent urination, especially during night time has a significant effect on bladder cancer. The research, which is published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Cancer, shows a direct association between the number of times people get up at night to urinate and protection they have against bladder cancer.
The longest time intervals between urination is at night time. It is hypothesized that allowing urine to remain in the bladder for extended periods of time also allows an increased length of time for carcinogenic agents to sit in the bladder, contributing an important factor towards the likelihood of developing bladder cancer.
The research group, made up of Spanish and North American scientists, analyzed 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 Vallés, Barcelona, Asturias, Alicante and Tenerife.
Better advise then frequent urination of course is to avoid exposure to carcinogenic agents (e.g. to stop smoking and to avoid direct contact with chemical products or pollution particles). However, the risk of bladder cancer could be reduced by increasing urinary frequency and drinking more 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.
It is hard enough to deal with prostate cancer. Take it from a multi-cancer survivor, do what ever you are able so as to avoid another cancer.
1. Silverman et al. Does increased urination frequency protect against bladder cancer? International Journal of Cancer, 2008; 123 (7): 1644 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.23572
Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW