Bladder Cancer Risk Factors: Smoking, Family History, etc.

Various epidemiological studies have shown a number of factors that can predispose to bladder cancer.

Following is a list of bladder cancer risk factors:

Bladder Cancer - Risk Factors

  • Tobacco/Cigarette smoking: Use of tobacco is one of the major risk factors for bladder cancer with the higher risk involved for more amount used over a short duration. Smokers are at 3 times higher risk of developing bladder cancer compared to non-smokers.
  • Family history: Risk of developing bladder cancer increases in an individual with a history of bladder cancer in first-degree relatives (parents, brother, sister, or child).
  • Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes: Some inherited cancer predisposition syndromes (caused by a mutation in certain genes which are generally transferred from one generation to other) have been reported to be associated with a high incidence rate of bladder cancer. Following are some examples: Lynch syndrome or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC, generally caused by mutation in the MLH1 or MSH2 gene); Cowden disease (caused by mutation in PTEN/MMAC1 gene); and mutations in retinoblastoma (Rb1), SLC14A1 (a urea transporter gene), GSTM1, and NAT2.
  • Individuals with a personal history of cancer in the lining of any part of the urinary tract are generally at higher risk of developing another cancer.
  • Occupation exposure: Higher risk of bladder cancer is also associated with regular exposure to certain chemicals like paint, dye, heavy metals, or petroleum products generally experienced by dyestuffs workers, painters, leather workers, truck drivers, aluminum workers and workers in the dry-cleaning industry.
  • History of exposure to radiation and treatment with certain drugs like cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, phenacetin, and pioglitazone are reported to be the independent risk factors for bladder cancer.
  • Infection with Schistosoma haematobium (a parasitic worm that is prevalent in certain parts of Africa and the Middle East) is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
  • Exposure to high level of arsenic or chlorine in drinking water can also increase the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Chronic irritation of bladder by urinary tract infection, kidney/bladder stones, or prolonged use of catheter have also been linked to high incidence of bladder cancer.
  • Age and Gender: Older age individuals especially males are generally at increased risk of developing bladder cancer with most of the incidences observed in the 6th, 7th, and 8th decades of life.

Diabetes mellitus (especially type 2 diabetes), heavy alcohol consumption, high intake of coffee/tea, artificial sweeteners, and low intake of water are some other risk factors postulated for bladder cancer.

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To further understand the disease in a better way, have a look at the video below where CancerBro meets Mr. Blake who has recently being diagnosed with bladder cancer. CancerBro asks Mr. Blake several important questions related to his disease from early symptoms which lead her to contact an oncologist to various other risk factors related to bladder cancer.

And in the following video, Cancerbro explains the various RISK FACTORS associated with bladder cancer.

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