United Knowledge, Expert Care

Causes of bladder cancer

The causes of bladder cancer are not yet well understood by medical scientists. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking is a potential cause and others have noted a higher incidence in people who work in heavy industries such as chemical, printing and rubber. There is some evidence to suggest that bladder cancer is up to three times more common in men than women and that it is very rare before the age of 50. Although it does not affect the UK, in parts of the world where bilharzia is common (a chronic parasitic bladder infection that lives in water), the incidence of bladder cancer is higher.

Therefore, people from the UK who have travelled to these areas and swam in rivers where bilharzia is present may be at a greater risk of developing bladder cancer.

Other hereditary, environmental and genetic factors have also been linked to the occurrence of bladder cancer. However, no conclusive information is available. Repeated urinary tract infections and bladder or kidney stones (which can cause infection) have also been linked to bladder cancer.
Similarly, the risk is increased by previous radiotherapy to the pelvic area for treating another kind of cancer and treatment with the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. Ultimately, research into the causes of bladder cancer is ongoing and more will be known as new results are published.

When diagnosed with bladder cancer it may be frustrating not to be able to isolate a cause for your condition. Your GP and the staff here at LUA will be able to discuss these worries and feelings further with you which you may find helpful.

Most bladder cancers are superficial and therefore only affect the lining of the bladder wall. However, if not diagnosed, or left untreated, they can grow and spread deeper into the muscle layer of the bladder wall.

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