Outward appearances among humans vary widely. Hair, eye, and skin color may come in many different hues, but our similarities are apparent internally. No matter what bodily system a doctor treats, our internal makeup would be hard to tell apart from someone else of different ethnicity.
However, certain ethnic groups, seem to be at a disadvantage when it comes to the urinary system. Their disadvantage stems from having higher rates of a condition or a greater risk of dying from the condition. Regarding urinary health, four urinary conditions place some people, based on their race, at a greater risk for getting certain urinary conditions. These four conditions include:
Here is a look at each of these conditions affecting the urinary health and functioning of people diagnosed with them:
The most common cancer among young adult men (between the ages of 15 and 40) is testicular cancer. The likelihood of a young man developing this disease begins to increase starting at puberty. A painless lump or swelling in the testicle is the most common symptom of this cancer, but other symptoms may include:
But, there are stark racial differences which have been found. For example, a 2020 study found that while white men have five times the rate of testicular cancer, they had the highest survival rate compared to other ethnic groups. Conversely, Black men had the lowest 5-year survival rate at 87.7%, compared to 95.3% among white men. Researchers believe that Black men have a higher fatality rate due to detecting testicular cancer at a later, less treatable stage, their genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in three people, or 33% of American adults, are at risk of kidney disease. This disease manifests with symptoms such as leg swelling, loss of appetite, unclear thinking, a metallic taste in foods, and reduced urination or urinating only at night.
Among the American population, most adults who develop kidney disease are minorities. For example, kidney failure is 1.3 times more common in Latinos and three times higher in Black Americans compared to White Americans. One reason could be that these populations already have much higher rates of health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease, each of which also increases the risk of kidney disease. Another factor is lack of access to healthcare or avoiding healthcare.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are hard to ignore: pain or burning while urinating, frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate, but little urine come out. In addition, UTIs can occur in both men and women. Still, the difference between the rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs) among each sex is striking: Throughout their lifetime, up to 50% of women will develop a UTI, whereas only 3% of men will.
When the percentages are broken down by comparing the number of White American women to women of minority groups diagnosed with a UTI, it clearly shows that minority women have a higher risk of UTIs.
About 16.5% of White American women will develop a UTI compared to:
Prostate cancer is the second more common cancer diagnosed in American men, other than nonmalignant skin cancer. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, except lung cancer. In the early stages, prostate cancer is called the “silent killer” as it has few symptoms. However, as it advances, common symptoms can include frequent urination, a weak urine flow, blood in the urine, or lower back/groin pain.
While far too many men will be diagnosed with this disease, and sadly, some will die, research has found that Black men have a 74% higher risk of developing prostate cancer than other ethnic groups and are twice as likely to die from this disease. For Hispanic men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed.
There are many speculations about why Black men have such a higher risk of prostate cancer. It could include genetics, smoking, limited physical activity, poor nutrition, or exposure to pollutants. Another reason for the disparity is not having access to regular prostate cancer screening. Early detection saves lives, but prostate cancer is more difficult to treat when found at a later stage.
Individuals of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds have faced challenges in access to quality healthcare for many reasons. These reasons include lack of health insurance, limited options for healthcare such as living in a rural area, lack of transportation to receive healthcare, distrust in healthcare providers, and noncompliance or misunderstanding of the use of medications or frequency for getting regular healthcare screenings.
While many factors need further work to help minorities receive the healthcare they deserve, anyone experiencing a urinary condition should seek help from a doctor as soon as possible. Waiting too long to treat these conditions can prove to be an unwise decision long-term.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.