Are You At Risk For Bladder Cancer?
No one knows the exact causes of bladder cancer. People who do get bladder cancer are more likely than others to have certain risk factors. But even most people with an increased chance of developing this disease don’t end up with it. And some who get bladder cancer may get it without having any significant risk factors.
But research studies have found the following risk factors for bladder cancer:
Age. The chance of getting bladder cancer goes up as people get older. People under 40 rarely get this disease.
Tobacco. The use of tobacco is a major risk factor (for this and many other types of cancer). Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely than nonsmokers to get bladder cancer. Pipe and cigar smokers are also at an increased risk.
Occupation. Some workers have a higher risk of getting bladder cancer because of carcinogens that are more predominant in their workplace. Workers in the rubber, chemical, and leather industries are at higher risk. So are hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, printers, painters, textile workers, and truck drivers.
Infections. Being infected with certain parasites increases the risk of bladder cancer. These parasites are common in tropical areas but not in the United States.
Treatment with Cyclophosphamide or Arsenic. These drugs are used to treat cancer and some other conditions. They also raise the risk of bladder cancer.
Race. White-skinned people of European descent get bladder cancer twice as often as African Americans and Hispanics. The lowest rates of bladder cancer are in the Asian population.
Males. Men are two to three times more likely than women to get bladder cancer.
Family History. People with family members who have bladder cancer are more likely to get the disease. Researchers are styling changes in certain genes that may increase the risk.
Personal History of Bladder Cancer. Of course, people who have already had bladder cancer have an increased chance of getting the disease again.
What are the symptoms?
You’ll want to see your doctor if you experience any of these issues:
• Blood in urine (which makes the color of your urine slightly rusty to deep red)
• Pain during urination, and
• Frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate without results
What are your next steps?
These symptoms are not sure signs of bladder cancer. Infections, benign tumors, bladder or kidney stones, or other problems also can cause these symptoms. However, if you have any of these, go to your family physician or a urologist who specializes in diseases of the urinary system.
Getting diagnosed sooner rather than later is critical to your future health and survival. If you are eventually diagnosed with bladder cancer, make sure you get a second opinion. Who provides your cancer care treatment is your decision. In most cases, a brief delay won’t make your treatment any less effective. But finding the right oncologist for your cancer care treatment should be your priority.