Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, expected to affect about 80,470 new U.S. patients in 2019. Though anyone can develop this disease, some people have a higher risk than others.
Many factors combine to influence your risk of bladder cancer, including personal characteristics, behaviors and environmental factors. Some people with multiple risk factors never develop bladder cancer, while others may have the disease and none of the known risk factors.
Like any type of cancer, bladder cancer is complicated and difficult to predict. However, knowing the factors that put you at risk allows you to take precautions and protect your health.
Who Is Likely to Get Bladder Cancer?
Research shows that bladder cancer arises more frequently in certain groups of people, both genetic and behavioral. Some of the biggest factors that affect a person's risk include:
- Age: Risk for bladder cancer increases with age. Bladder cancer occurs most frequently in men 55 years of age or older.
- Sex: Bladder cancer occurs about four times as often in males than females, though it's more likely to be lethal in females.
- Race: White people are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than people of other races.
- Cancer history: People with personal or families histories of bladder cancer show elevated risk.
- Birth defects: People with certain birth defects of the bladder, such as exstrophy, may be more likely to develop bladder cancer.
- Chemical exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals such as arsenic have been shown to significantly increase risk.
Exposure to chemicals — at home or in the workplace — has a particularly strong relationship to bladder cancer. Encountering arsenic in drinking water or hazardous chemicals in cigarette smoke makes you much more likely to develop the disease, so it's important to take precautions. People who smoke have a risk two times greater than their non-smoking peers.
Professionals at High Risk
Workplace chemical exposure is responsible for an estimated 25 percent of all cases of bladder cancer, making it the second leading cause of bladder cancer behind smoking.
Generally, aromatic amines are the chemicals responsible for increased risk. Aromatic amides appear in the products of the dye, rubber and chemical industries, as well as in hair dyes, paint, car exhaust and more. People who work in these industries are at particular risk of bladder cancer from occupational exposure:
- Machining and metal work
- Boot and shoe manufacturing
- Road paving
- Rail and road transport
- Vehicle repair and maintenance
If your job comes with increased risk, follow all workplace safety procedures to avoid exposure and communicate any concerns with your doctor.
Next Steps for Those at Risk
If you have multiple risk factors for bladder cancer, taking action early can help you protect your health. If you notice any concerning symptoms, reach out to your doctor.
Getting tested for bladder cancer can provide peace of mind and ensure you receive the treatment you need. Your doctor may recommend Cxbladder, a suite of non-invasive urine tests to rule out bladder cancer. To learn more about what Cxbladder can do, contact one of our representatives today.
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