What causes Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a form of cancer that affects the tissues of the bladder. In general, it is described as a traditional cell carcinoma, which means that it starts in the cells of the bladder’s inner lining. Sometimes it forms a squamous cell carcinoma or an adeocarcinoma because the inner lining of the bladder suffers from chronic inflammation or irritation. In the year 2008, in the United States alone, there were over 68,000 new cases of bladder cancer and over 14,000 deaths.

The exact causes of bladder cancer are unknown. However, there are some people who have a higher likelihood, or increased risk factors, of developing the disease than other people. However, just because a person has certain risk factors, it does not mean he will have the disease and, in the alternative, just because a person has no risk factors, it does not mean the person will not get it.

Various research studies have pointed to several risk factors that may increase the chances that a person will get bladder cancer. For example, as people age, their chances of getting the disease increases. In fact, it is rarely found in individuals less than 40 years old. Another example, tobacco use, has significant links to an increase in the rate of bladder cancer. Specifically, people who smoke cigarettes are twice or triply as likely to get the disease when compared to those that do not smoke.

An individual’s occupation can also play a role in their chances of being affected by bladder cancer. Unfortunately, some people are exposed to carcinogens at work. Certain industry workers, such as rubber, leather and chemical workers, have a higher possibility of exposure. Others such as hairdressers, textile workers, painters, and truck drivers may also be exposed to carcinogens that can lead to the disease.
Other factors that can increase the likelihood of bladder cancer are uncontrollable. For example, race plays a role.
Caucasians are two times more likely to get the disease than other groups. In addition, men have two to three times the chance they will have it when compared to women.
Genetics can increase the probability of getting bladder cancer, as well. Individuals that have a family member with the disease are more likely to get it themselves. Plus, people that have had it once are more likely to get it a second time.
Some everyday chemicals may also lead to bladder cancer. Although studies are inconclusive, some researchers believe that chlorine in drinking water causes bladder cancer. Also, artificial sweeteners such as saccharin have been shown to cause the disease in laboratory animals.