Scientists have discovered urine bacteria that may be linked to aggressive prostate cancers.
According to experts at the University of East Anglia, this identification could help detect signs and potentially prevent dangerous tumors.
At present, it is too early to say whether the urine bacteria cause cancer or are just a useful marker.
Some bacterial infections play a role in the development of other cancers, such as an insect called H. pylori, which can cause stomach cancer. In these cases, a course of antibiotics can reduce the risk.
In the UAE study of more than 600 patients with and without prostate cancer, the study found the urine bacteria in those men who had prostate cancer.
The prostate is attached to a man’s urinary tract. The theory is that either undiagnosed infections lead to prostate cancer, as we see with stomach cancers, or that if you have prostate cancer, your body is less able to get rid of bacteria.
Experts are waiting to see if treating the infection with antibiotics eliminates the risk of prostate cancer. But to demonstrate this, more needs to be done.
So what exactly is a urine bug and what should you watch out for?
Dr Gareth Nye, an ambassador for the Society of Endocrinology, tells HuffPost: “Urine bugs are the usual way of describing bacteria that can live happily in our urinary tract. Urinary tract infections are quite common and 50% of women experience one in their lifetime. due to the nature of their anatomy.
“It’s much less common in men, up to 14%. The bacteria that usually cause these infections are more often than not coming from our poop, but other bacteria can cause it too.”
Urinary tract infections caused by bacteria can often lead to bladder infections or kidney infections as the bacteria grow and move along the urinary tract. Ultimately, this can cause kidney damage that affects your entire body.
So how do you know when it’s something more serious? And what should you do? dr. Nye advises, “If you think you may have a urinary tract infection, see a doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Pain/burning sensation while urinating
- Increased need to urinate
- Blood in your urine
- Pain in your lower back
- Or a change in your temperature
“It’s important to seek medical attention before an infection does long-term damage,” he adds.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you are advised to see a doctor to check your prostate, especially if you are a man over the age of 50. Other symptoms include difficulty starting to urinate and weak blood flow.
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the survival rate is currently 100% if caught early enough.