Madison (WKOW) -- It doesn't get a lot of publicity, but bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men.
Men get bladder cancer at four times the rate of women, and that caught researchers' attention.
When Randy Hunter noticed blood in his urine, he did what most men do: he put-off calling the doctor.
Hunter said, "I was the pig-headed male you know, and also I was sort of nervous and scared about going to the doctors."
At the time, Randy was just 42, had no risk factors, yet was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Hunter added, "every time I have to catheterize myself, yes I did have cancer even though I feel great. And, but it's just... I'm reminded."
Men develop bladder cancer at four times the rate of women.
Looking at what triggers it is the focus of research at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Doctor Edward Messing said, "there are growth factors, hormones like insulin, and sex hormones, that are excreted in the urine in gigantic concentrations."
In their studies, testosterone fueled the growth of bladder cancer in male mice.
Doctor Messing added, "stimulates bladder cancer development, while female hormones, it's not clear if it's estrogen or progesterone, or which, tend to be protective."
Genetically "turning off" the receptor for testosterone also reduced risk.
The next step is determining whether drugs that block testosterone or its receptor could treat, or prevent, the disease.
Doctor Messing also said, "I wouldn't go so far as to say that we know if they're going to work or not, but certainly, it immediately opens up that possibility."
A possibility that could help more men avoid the diagnosis of bladder cancer.
Doctor Messing says they are currently comparing patients with bladder cancer to people without to see the role hormones and receptors play.