What are the risk factors for bladder cancer?

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[col type=”three-fourth last”]Bladder cancer is one of the more common cancers especially in men and women over age 60. However the risks start to increase after age 40. The greatest risk is attributable to present or past history of tobacco smoking. Even smokers who have quit smoking more than 20 years ago are at persistently increased risk.  However former smokers are at lower risk than present smokers.



However not all patients with bladder cancer has history of smoking and many do not.

Workplace and Environmental Exposure and Bladder Cancer:

Environmental toxins have also been implicated in risk for bladder cancer. The risk for bladder cancer varies across the United States presumably due to environmental factors and exposure to industrial toxins.  In particular benzene derivatives are associated with increased risk for bladder cancer.

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Certain industrial chemicals, in particular dye components such as aromatic amines  which were widely used in the manufacture of dyes and pigments for textiles, paints and hair dyes are known carcinogens. Workers in plastics, rubber and paper industries are also at increased risk as those workers who worked in drug manufacture and pesticides production industries.


Patients with history of pelvic irradiation to prostate cancer also the increased risk for bladder cancer as are patients with history of pelvic radiation for cervical cancer.

Phenacetin, a medication that is no longer in use has been associated with increased risk for bladder cancer.  Cyclophosphamide used as chemotherapy also increases risk of bladder cancer.

Schistosomiasis is linked to increased risk of bladder cancer (squamous); It is a parasitic infection that occurs in the Middle East, Africa and SE Asia.

Most patients diagnosed with bladder cancer present to the urologist with urinary symptoms or bloody urine.

Can bladder cancer be prevented?  To some extend yes, if one is willing to avoid risk factors for bladder cancer and lead a healthy lifestyle.

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