Risk Factor: Smoking
Although the exact causes of bladder cancer remain unknown, smoking is the leading risk factor. Smokers are about four times more likely to get bladder cancer than people who have never smoked. Chemicals in tobacco smoke are carried from the lungs to the bloodstream, then filtered by the kidneys into urine. This concentrates harmful chemicals in the bladder, where they damage cells that can give rise to cancer.
Risk Factor: Chemical Exposure
Research suggests that certain jobs may increase your risk for bladder cancer. Metal workers, mechanics, and hairdressers are among those who may be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. If you work with dyes, or in the making of rubber, textiles, leather, or paints, be sure to follow safety procedures to reduce contact with dangerous chemicals. Smoking further increases risk from chemical exposure.
Other Risk Factors
Anyone can get bladder cancer, but these factors put you at greater risk:
- Gender: Men are three times more likely to get bladder cancer.
- Age: Nine out of 10 cases occur over age 55.
- Race: Whites have twice the risk of African-Americans.