Why Smoking Puts Your Bladder at Risk
It’s no shock that smoking puts your body at risk for disease, but is there any relation between bladder cancer and smoking?
Cancer is caused by changes to cells in the body. This mutation is often linked with exposure to certain chemicals, but the direct cause isn’t always known. Although tobacco has been a common link to cancer, it might surprise you that smoking is actually the single biggest risk factor for bladder cancer!
Here’s how this happens:
When smoking, cancer-causing (carcinogenic) chemicals pass into the bloodstream and are filtered by the kidneys into the urine.
Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes can increase the risk of bladder cancer by causing harmful chemicals to accumulate in the urine.
Because the bladder stores the urine, it is repeatedly being exposed to these harmful chemicals, which can change the cells of the bladder lining, thus leading to bladder cancer.
The longer a person smokes and the more cigarettes they smoke, the greater the risk for bladder cancer to occur.
The surprising statistics:
- Former smokers were 2x as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who never smoked, and current smokers were 4x more likely than nonsmokers.
- About 1 in 3 cases of bladder cancer cases are caused by smoking.
- Smoking is responsible for about 1/2 of female bladder cancer cases.
- A 2011 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that 50% of all bladder cancer cases are found in smokers.
- Even though smoking carries the same risk for men and women, men are still about 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer.
How to prevent:
As with many other smoking-related cancers, ceasing to smoke is associated with reduced bladder cancer risk.
It is critical to be aware of any early diagnosis symptoms and to reduce any and all risks of bladder cancer in order to prevent and treat the disease.
While it isn’t easy to quit smoking, experts agree it’s the one healthy change that offers the most benefit in your overall health.
Don’t wait too long to seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- Recurrent bladder infections
- Frequent or burning urination
When cancer is identified at an early stage it’s highly curable, but many times people delay seeing a doctor.