Clinical Conditions

Risk Factors

Although the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown, studies have found the following to be risk factors for developing the disease:

Age: The chance of contracting bladder cancer increases with age, and is uncommon in people under the age of 40.

Tobacco: Tobacco use is a major risk factor in bladder cancer. Smokers, including pipe and cigar smokers, are two to three times more likely than nonsmokers to get the disease.

Race: Bladder cancer occurs twice as often in Caucasians than it does in African-Americans and Hispanics. Asians have the lowest rate of developing the disease.

Gender: Males are two to three times more likely than females to get bladder cancer.

Family history: People with a family history of bladder cancer are more likely than those with no family history of it to get the disease. Studies are underway to determine whether certain genes increase the risk of getting the disease.

Personal history of bladder cancer: Bladder cancer has a 50-80% recurrence rate, the highest of any cancer - including skin cancer. Bladder cancer survivors have an increased chance of getting the disease again.

Occupation: Workers exposed to elevated amounts of carcinogens in the workplace are more at risk. This includes the rubber, chemical, and leather industries, along with hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, printers, painters, textile workers and truck drivers.

Infections: People infected with certain parasites have an increased risk of bladder cancer. These parasites tend to be common of more tropical climates.

Treatment with cyclophosphamide or arsenic: These drugs are sometimes used in the treatment of cancer and other conditions, and raise the risk of subsequently developing bladder cancer.