In case you missed it, July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. Earlier this month, we covered the basic facts and symptoms of bladder cancer (read here).
Now, let’s dig a little deeper and get an overview of the risk factors and causes of bladder cancer, along with some prevention tips to help. (Hint – more fruits and veggies in your diet are a great idea.)
Bladder Cancer Causes
The Mayo Clinic points out that it’s not always possible to find an exact cause for bladder cancer. However, the disease has been linked to a number of significant risk factors, including smoking, chemical exposure and radiation.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), these are some of the top risk factors for bladder cancer.
Tobacco usage. This is the #1 cause of bladder cancer. Smoking, for even a short time, increases your chances of contracting the disease. And, the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to get bladder cancer.
Workplace chemical exposure. If you work in the leather, textile, metal, rubber or dye industries, you’re at a higher risk of being exposed to carcinogens. Hairdressers, truck drivers, painters, printers and machinists may also have greater chances of contracting bladder cancer.
Personal or family bladder cancer history. If you have already had the disease once, you are more likely to get it again. Also, you’re at a slightly higher risk if you have family members who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Certain types of cancer treatment. Some chemotherapy drugs (like cyclophosphamide), as well as radiation therapy to the pelvis or abdomen, may increase bladder cancer risk.
Arsenic exposure. In some parts of the world, high levels of arsenic in drinking water may contribute to bladder cancer. However, the U.S. regulates its water supply to limit arsenic levels, cutting down on the risk.)
Bladder Cancer Prevention Tips
The American Cancer Society (ACS) explains that there’s no completely foolproof way to prevent bladder cancer, but, you can significantly cut down on your risk factors by making some healthy lifestyle changes.
Don’t use tobacco. That includes both smoking and smokeless tobacco products. Smoking causes about half of all bladder cancer cases, in both men and women. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. And if you smoke, please try to quit. The NCI offers a number of helpful resources for people who want to stop smoking.
Stay away from aromatic amines, if possible. These are the chemicals found in the rubber, leather, textiles, printing, paint and hairdressing industries. If you work in any of these fields, be sure to follow good safety practices.
Drink more liquids. Especially water. Some research suggests that this can also reduce your bladder cancer risk factors.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. You knew this one was coming! A diet higher in fruits and veggies can help prevent many different types of cancer, including bladder cancer.
For more information bladder cancer, the causes, risk factors and more, visit the American Bladder Cancer Society and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network websites. And, for more articles and cancer prevention tips, click here.
Talk to us in the comments! What healthy lifestyle habits do you have to reduce your risk factors and help prevent bladder cancer.
(Image via FOX News.)