What are some risk factors for bladder cancer? Is it a common cancer?

As with most cancers, the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. However, there are risk factors that can increase the chance of developing the disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, cigarette smoking has been attributable to 50 percent of bladder cancer cases in men and 30 percent in women.

Other possible risk factors include: exposure to carcinogens, a diet high in fat/fried meats, low fluid consumption, infection from a parasite like schistomsomiasis (mostly found in underdeveloped countries), bladder birth defects, personal or family history of bladder cancer, some types of chemotherapy treatment like cychophosphamide and ifosfamide, women treated with radiation for cervical cancer, being 65 years or older, being Caucasian and males are more likely to get it.

Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

Blood in the urine

Frequent urination

Urge but unable to urinate

Pain during urination

Lower back pain

Bone pain and/or tenderness

Abdominal pain


Weight loss


The can also be symptoms of other health issues. It is important to consult with your doctor about any problems you may be having.

For more information, contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org, or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

National Cancer Institute: Bladder Cancer


National Library of Medicine/MedlinePlus: Bladder Cancer

This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.