Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Bladder cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer in men and also affects women. Bladder cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the bladder grow and multiply quickly and uncontrollably, and invade other tissues. Bladder cancer usually begins in urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder and are also found in kidneys and ureters. Cancer of the urothelial cells are more common in the bladder than in the kidneys and ureters. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage by best Urologist in Chennai and is highly treatable. There are chances that the cancer may penetrate in to bladder muscle and then spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system. The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown but there are certain risk factors that can develop bladder cancer.
Risk factors that could cause bladder cancer
Bladder is the organ that collects urine from the kidneys before expelling it from the body through urination. Bladder cancer can be benign or even malignant where it can spread quickly and become life threatening. Without treatment, bladder cancer can damage tissues and organs. There are risk factors that raise a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer and spread to other organs, making it metastatic cancer. People with risk for bladder cancer typically need keep watch on various factors like.
Smoking – The single biggest risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking because of the cancer-causing (carcinogenic) chemicals present in tobacco. It’s estimated that More than a third of all cases of bladder cancer are estimated to be caused by smoking. There is 4 times more chances to develop bladder cancer in people who smoke than in non-smokers. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes for many years may cause these chemicals to accumulate in the urine and increase the risk of bladder cancer. Chemicals smoked from tobacco are processed by the body and passed through the bloodstream. They get filtered by kidneys and are excreted into the urine, which when collected in the bladder, damage the lining of the bladder. Repeated exposure to these harmful chemicals, affects the bladder as it acts as a store for urine. The changes caused to the cells of the bladder lining can lead to bladder cancer.
Exposure to chemicals – This happens to be the second biggest risk factor for bladder cancer. Around 25% of cases have been estimated to account for bladder cancer through exposure to certain chemicals. The link between bladder cancer and chemical exposure was discovered in the 1950s and 1960s. Risk of bladder cancer are known to be increased by chemicals such as aniline dyes, 2-Naphthylamine, 4-Aminobiphenyl, xenyl amine, benzidine, o-toluidine and few more. These chemicals are linked to causes of bladder cancer in later years as the initial exposure to the chemicals can take up to 30 years till the condition starts to develop and show signs. Occupations that are linked to an increased risk of exposure to chemicals that can cause bladder cancer are jobs that involve manufacturing of dyes, textiles, rubbers, paints, plastics, leather etc. Increased risk of bladder cancer is also from some of the non-manufacturing jobs like taxi or bus drivers where there is regular exposure to chemicals present in diesel fumes. Since kidneys play a key role in filtering harmful chemicals from the bloodstream and transporting them to the bladder, being around these chemicals has increased the risk of bladder cancer. Through strict regulations, exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in various occupations has been limited but the exposure to chemicals from other sources remains to be a risk factor that needs to be addressed to the urologist specialist in Chennai for assessment and evaluation.
Arsenic exposure – A naturally occurring substance usually found in water called arsenic can cause health problems if consumed in large amounts and it has been associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Factors such as location of residence, and whether water source is from a well or from a system that meets the standards for acceptable arsenic levels decide the chances of being exposed to high levels of arsenic.
Other medical conditions – Certain anti-cancer drugs used in chemotherapy can increase the risk of bladder cancer. Radiation treatments received previously that aimed at the pelvis for a previous cancer near the bladder such as bowel cancer have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Taking certain treatments for type 2 diabetes have shown increased incidences of bladder cancer. A correlation between bladder cancer and people taking a certain diabetes drug was found in 2011.
- People who are paralysed, bed ridden or having a nerve damage may have a catheter tube in the bladder for a prolonged time and this can increase the risk of bladder cancer.
- Repeated or long term untreated urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be a causative risk factor for bladder cancer.
- Bladder stones that have been ignored or left untreated for a long time also increases the risk for bladder cancer
- An infection caused by a fresh water parasite can cause schistosomiasis (bilharzia). People who have this parasitic disease are more likely to develop squamous cell bladder cancer.
- People with a previous history of bladder cancer once are more likely to develop bladder cancer again.
- Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition which was previously called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC, and people with this condition or other genetic predisposition may have an increased risk of developing upper and lower tract bladder cancer.
Age is a risk factor with more than 70% of people with bladder cancer being older than 65, thus raising the chances of bladder cancer with increase in age. Men have 4 times more possibilities to develop bladder cancer than women whereas women may have a delayed diagnosis. Although rare for bladder cancer to run in families, family history where a parent, sibling or child had bladder cancer, may increase the risk of the condition. It is necessary for tests to be taken at best Urologist hospitals in Chennai for risk factors or bladder cancer that recurs.