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High-Risk Urinary Conditions Among Minorities, and What to Do

April 12, 2023 | By: Shekar Dheenan, MD

When considering the quality of a person, we know it’s what’s on the inside that counts. When it comes to the quality of urinary health, however, what’s on the outside counts, as well.

In the United States, people of color suffer four urinary medical conditions at higher or more deadly rates than non-minorities. These conditions are testicular cancer, kidney disease, bladder cancer, and prostate cancer.

The reasons behind this likelihood can be traced to genetics and social factors. In our 2022 blog dedicated to National Minority Health Month, we reviewed the risks of various urinary health conditions among minorities, and the contributing factors.

In 2023, we’re revisiting the topic, as well as the ways to reduce the risks.

4 High-Risk Urinary Conditions for Minorities

Testicular Cancer Deaths

While testicular cancer is more likely to develop in White men than most other races, its mortality rates are higher in non-White ethnicities. The five-year overall survival rate among Black/African American men in the “regional” stage of cancer (cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes, tissues, or organs) is 87.7%, compared with 95.3% for White men. The survival rate is 91% among those of Asian descent, and 94.5% for Hispanic/Latinos, according to 2020 research (most recent).

Some researchers contribute the higher mortality rates for Black/African American men to late detection. However, genetic disorders, family history, and environmental factors contribute. Leading symptoms include pain or a heavy feeling in the testicles and changes in their shape and/or size.

Kidney Disease

One third of all American adults are at risk of kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation, but that risk escalates among non-Whites. Black/African Americans are at least 3 times more likely to experience kidney failure, for example, and Latinos are 1.3 times more likely.

Native American/Alaskans are twice as likely to have diabetes as White Americans. Having diabetes can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure. The rates of kidney failure caused by diabetes in Asian Americans ages 30 to 39 have doubled from 2000 to 2010.

Asian Americans and Native American/Alaskans also are at higher risk. Some research indicates chronic kidney disease is slightly higher among women than men.

The suggested causes for these differences include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Access to healthcare may also play a role. Common signs of kidney cancer include pain on the side, a lump in the abdomen, and blood in the urine.

Advanced Bladder Cancer

Black/African America men are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease in later stages. This can contribute to lower survival rates. Of the nearly 82,300 new cases of bladder cancer expected to be diagnosed in 2023, more than 16,700 are estimated to be fatal.

The leading cause of bladder cancer is smoking, which is higher among Black/African American men than White men (21% vs. 17%). However, a lack of access to healthcare also could prevent Black/African American men from seeking a diagnosis and treatment. Indicators of the disease include blood in the urine and painful urination.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is more prevalent among Black/African American men than any other race or ethnic groups. One in six will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime, and Black/African American men are twice as likely to die from the disease than men of other races. Among Hispanic/Latino men, prostate cancer accounts for 40% of new cancer diagnoses, and incidents of advanced disease appear to be on the rise. Asian American men – Chinese American men in particular – are at lower risk.

Genetic mutations contribute to higher risks of developing prostate cancer, as do poor nutrition, smoking, and lack of activity. Higher mortality rates could be due, in part, to late diagnoses. Symptoms include frequent urination (especially at night), a weak urine flow, and blood in the urine.

What’s Better Than Early Detection? Prevention

The theme of the 2023 National Minority Health Care Month is “Better Health Through Better Understanding.” If you’d like to be a part of that effort, you can find resources on the National Minority Health Month website, under “Get Involved.”

If you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of any of the above diseases, you could prevent it from getting worse by seeing a doctor and getting tested. Make an appointment easily, right here.

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