When the topic of smoking and its link to cancer comes up, most people think lung cancer. While smoking does significantly increase your risk of developing lung cancer, it also makes you three times as likely to develop bladder cancer as well.
The carcinogens left in the body from smoking must exit through the urinary tract. When the urine is in contact with the bladder for an extended period of time the bladder can be exposed to a high amount of toxins from cigarette smoke. This has led to high rates of bladder cancer in smokers.
By the Numbers:
- The American Cancer Society has found that smokers are at least three times as likely to develop bladder cancer
- 50 percent of all bladder cancer cases are found in smokers, according to the National Institutes of Health
- Former smokers have double the chance of developing bladder cancer compared to those who have never smoked; current smokers are four times as likely
Are Women at Increased Risk?
Bladder cancer is more common in men, but rates are growing in women. This could be attributed to increases in women smokers. A previous study indicated that 28 percent of cases in women were linked to smoking, but a more recent study by the National Institutes of Health indicate that number has risen to 50 percent, equal to men.
What are the Symptoms?
Bladder cancer is a highly curable disease if detected early. Symptoms of the disease include blood in the urine, recurrent bladder infections and frequent or burning urination.
The first step toward prevention is to quit smoking. Our Tobacco Cessation Program can offer you counseling and support to help you quit using tobacco. For more information call us at (319) 558-4876.
Source: The Cleveland Clinic