Can bladder cancer be prevented? Know your symptoms, risk!

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide.

Bladder cancer

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in your bladder - a hollow organ that collects urine from the kidneys and stores it until it is passed out from the body.

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide and can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancer, which have a five-year survival rate of 90%, and muscle-invasive cancer, which have poor prognoses.

Signs and symptoms


The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria). Other symptoms include -

  • Painful, frequent urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Swelling in the lower legs
  • Bone pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

You should immediately see a doctor if you notice any signs and symptoms that worry you, especially if there's blood in the urine.

What increases your risk


It's not clearly known what causes bladder cancer, however, tobacco smoking is considered to be the main risk factor, with smokers three to four times more likely to get the disease than non-smokers.

Other risk factors for bladder cancer include:

Exposure to chemicals – Certain chemicals, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine (aromatic amines), which are sometimes used in the dye industry, can cause bladder cancer.

Taking certain medicines/dietary supplements- using diabetes medicine pioglitazone (Actos) for more than a year has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Besides, supplements containing aristolochic acid may increase a person's risk of urothelial cancers, including bladder cancer.

Previous cancer treatment - Some cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy to the belly or pelvis. Also, treatment with cyclophosphamide increases your risk of bladder cancer.

Age/Gender – A person's risk of getting bladder cancer increases as he gets older. Bladder cancer can occur in any age, but it's mostly found in older adults over the age of 50. Men are more likely to get bladder cancer than women are.

Being white – It is believed that whites have a greater risk of bladder cancer than people of other races.

Personal or family history – If you have a family member suffering from bladder cancer, you may be at an increased risk of developing the disease. You're also likely to get bladder cancer again if you've had it in the past.

Diet – Consuming a diet high in nitrates or rich in meat and fatty foods increases your risk of bladder cancer.

Some factors, like age or family history can't be changed as they are not under your control. However, you can change some factors, such as smoking, diet, and reduce your risk of getting bladder cancer.