Use of radiation therapy for uterine cancer appears to increase a woman’s risk for later development of and death from bladder cancer.

In a retrospective cohort study, Janet E. Baack Kukreja, MD, of the Department of Urology at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues obtained records from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program pertaining to 56,681 women diagnosed with uterine cancer as their first primary malignancy from 1980 to 2005. Follow-up for incident bladder cancer ended on December 31, 2008.

Of 15,726 women who had undergone radiation therapy for uterine cancer, 146 (0.93%) subsequently were diagnosed with bladder cancer over a mean follow-up of 15 years, compared with 197 of 40,955 women (0.48%) with uterine cancer who had not received radiation therapy. Fatal bladder cancer occurred in 39 (0.25%) of the women whose uterine cancer had been managed with radiation therapy, compared with 36 (0.09%) of the women with uterine cancer who had not undergone radiation therapy.

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Incident cases of bladder cancer had similar distributions in terms of histologic types, grades, and stages among the women who did and the women who did not receive radiation therapy for uterine cancer.

“Use of [radiation therapy] for [uterine cancer] is associated with increased [bladder cancer] incidence and mortality later in life,” Dr. Baack Kukreja and coauthors wrote in BJU International. “Heightened awareness should help identify women with new voiding symptoms or hematuria, all of which should be fully evaluated.”