Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop bladder cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing bladder cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for bladder cancer include the following:
A huge number of cases of bladder cancer are associated with smoking tobacco. Researchers think that more than half of all bladder cancers can be linked to tobacco use. The risk of developing bladder cancer increases depending on how many years you have smoked, how many cigarettes you smoked per day, and whether you inhale the smoke.
Once you completely stop smoking, it takes a full 20 years to drop your risk of bladder cancer back down to the risk faced by someone who has never smoked, but your risk decreases the longer you remain smoke-free.
It appears that exposure to certain chemicals greatly increases a person’s risk of bladder cancer. Workers who are most likely to be exposed to such cancer-causing agents include the following:
Treatment with the drug cyclophosphamide (used in
and to treat certain autoimmune disorders, such as
lupus) can also increase your risk of bladder cancer.
Conditions that allow your bladder to be chronically irritated over a long period of time can increase your chance of developing bladder cancer. Irritating conditions include the following:
You may have a slightly increased risk of developing bladder cancer if you’ve had
ovarian cancer. Your risk is even more greatly increased if you also received chemotherapy for one of those conditions.
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What you need to know about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at
http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/bladder. Accessed December 2002.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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