It is possible to reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer. Some behaviors, such as avoiding smoking and maintaining a balanced diet, can reduce the risk of developing the condition.
This article looks at bladder cancer prevention, risk factors, and more.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Bladder cancer occurs when bladder cells develop abnormally.
Some people are born with genetic mutations that can cause bladder cancer. Others acquire genetic mutations during their lifetime. It is possible for some people to avoid acquired genetic mutations in certain cases.
Through lifestyle modifications and other changes, it is also possible to avoid certain bladder cancer risk factors. These are factors that increase a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer.
It is not always possible to avoid bladder cancer risk factors. The
- Ethnicity and race: Bladder cancer is around twice as common in people who are white compared with people who are African American or Hispanic. Researchers do not fully understand why this is.
- Age: Older age is a bladder cancer risk factor. Around 90% of bladder cancer cases are in those over 55 years of age.
- Gender: Males are far likelier than females to develop bladder cancer. Overall, males have a
1 in 27risk of developing bladder cancer in their lifetime, while females have a 1 in 89 risk.
- Bladder problems and abnormalities: Several chronic bladder problems are bladder cancer risk factors. These include chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones, and schistosomiasis. Some congenital abnormalities of the bladder, such as exstrophy or urachus, are also bladder cancer risk factors.
- Cancer treatments: Certain cancer treatments are risk factors for bladder cancer. These include radiation therapy to the pelvic area. Long-term use of cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug, can also increase the risk of bladder cancer. The need for these treatments may sometimes be unavoidable.
People with a personal or family history of bladder cancer may also be at a higher risk of developing the condition.
The following sections look at avoidable risk factors and what a person can do to reduce their risk of developing bladder cancer.
Some risk factors for bladder cancer are avoidable. The most significant of these is smoking tobacco.
According to the ACS, people who smoke are
A person may help prevent bladder cancer by avoiding or quitting smoking. They should also avoid secondhand cigarette smoke.
A 2016 review states that quitting smoking can reduce the likelihood of bladder cancer. However, even after 20 years of smoking cessation, past smokers still have a
According to a
Some people might become exposed to chemicals in the workplace. Workplace exposure to various products could be a risk factor for bladder cancer. These products include:
This list may grow over time. For instance, the
If a person’s occupation puts them at risk of exposure to carcinogens (substances that can cause cancer), their employer must reduce that risk as much as possible.
Wearing protective gear and avoiding prolonged exposure can help reduce exposure risks.
According to the
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Another example is aristolochic acid, which occurs in several dietary supplements. Its use also correlates with an increased bladder cancer risk.
Additionally, insufficient fluid consumption appears to be a risk factor for bladder cancer. Although the link remains unclear, scientists speculate that people who drink more water may flush out more cancer-causing chemicals.
Diet and exercise might affect a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer.
However, the review authors stress that the evidence for these interventions remains weak. More studies in this area would help to clarify the link between diet and exercise habits and bladder cancer risk.
This section answers some frequently asked questions about bladder cancer prevention.
What foods help prevent bladder cancer?
According to the
Regardless, maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet can have many benefits. It can also reduce the risk of some other cancers.
There is some
What vitamins help prevent bladder cancer?
According to the
Bladder cancer arises due to genetic mutations in bladder cells. Various risk factors can make these mutations more likely.
Some risk factors are unavoidable. These include demographic factors such as age, race, and gender. They also include medical factors such as bladder problems, cancer treatments, and a history of bladder cancer.
Other risk factors are avoidable. A person can lower their risk of bladder cancer by stopping smoking or not taking it up. Limiting workplace exposure to certain chemicals and products could also help.
Other potentially avoidable risk factors include taking certain medications, drinking too little water, and certain diet- and exercise-related factors.