Can smoking cause bladder cancer? How do you get bladder cancer from smoking? These are good questions that are asked frequently because tobacco use and cigarette smoking continue to be the single most significant preventable cause of premature death in the U.S., and the top cause of cancer and cancer-related death.
In the U.S., bladder cancer is the fifth most common solid organ cancer. An estimated 50% of bladder cancer tumors can be linked to smoking.
The good news is that cigarette smoking is a risk factor that can be controlled with a change in lifestyle.
Smoking and Bladder Cancer Risk Statistics
Did you know?
- Smokers are a minimum of three times more likely to develop bladder cancer versus non-smokers, according to the American Cancer Society.
- A National Institute of Health study found 50% of all bladder cancer cases are in those who smoke.
- Former smokers have twice as much risk of developing bladder cancer as individuals who never smoked. Those who currently smoke have four times as much risk.
- While many individuals believe vaping is safer than smoking, research shows both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes contribute to a higher bladder cancer risk.
Research Linking Smoking With Bladder Cancer
Studies have shown a solid link between increased risk of progression and recurrence with continued smoking after receiving a bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment. The American Cancer Society reports individuals who smoke are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who don’t.
The association between bladder cancer and smoking extends to e-cigarettes as well. With the increase in e-cigarettes’ popularity, researchers have been uncovering possible associations between bladder cancer and e-cigarettes.
The researchers in one study compared the urine of individuals who used e-cigarettes with the urine of non-smokers. The researchers checked for five chemicals that cause bladder cancer and evidence suggests the chemicals may be in e-cigarette liquid. Of the e-cigarette users, 92% tested positive for two of the five chemicals. The study authors say more research on the association between bladder cancer and e-cigarettes is needed.
In another study, researchers looked at the impact of nicotine and its chemical compounds — including formaldehyde and nitrosamines — on DNA repair in the cells that line the bladder. The study showed e-cigarettes triggered cancer-related bladder tissue damage. It also found nitrosamines, nicotine and formaldehyde blocked DNA repair and boosted cancer risk.
How Does Smoking Affect the Bladder?
You take in all sorts of harsh chemicals each time you inhale tobacco fumes. Over 7,000 different chemicals are in tobacco smoke and tobacco, and more than 70 of them are known carcinogens. These chemicals cause damage at the most fundamental level of your cells, body and genes. The genetic damage smoking causes can result in uncontrolled cell growth, contributing to tumor formation.
The impact of cigarette smoke toxins entering your body has gained a lot of attention over the years. However, many people don't think about how the toxins leave your body, which takes place through your urinary tract.
When urine sits in your bladder for several hours at a time, it can expose your bladder to high toxin concentrations from cigarette smoke, resulting in increased rates of bladder cancer.
The risk associated with smoking increases with usage. The more you smoke, the greater the likelihood that you'll get bladder cancer. How often you smoke will also impact the overall severity of the disease and how you'll respond to treatment.
Secondhand Smoke and Bladder Cancer
Secondhand smoke (SHS) contains the same harsh chemicals smokers inhale. There's no safe SHS level of exposure, and the American Cancer Society points to the link between SHS and cancer. When you're a non-smoker exposed to SHS, it's known as passive smoking or involuntary smoking. Non-smokers breathing in SHS take in toxic chemicals and nicotine the same way smokers do. And, the more secondhand smoke you breathe in, the higher the levels of harsh chemicals in your body.
Evidence suggests SHS leads to lung cancer, even in individuals who have never smoked. Studies also suggest a link between SHS and bladder cancer. The Cancer Management Research journal recently published a study showing a statistically significant 22% increase in bladder cancer risk for lifetime SHS exposure in patients who don't smoke versus those not exposed to SHS.
Preventing Smoking and Bladder Cancer Problems
Fortunately, smoking is a risk factor you can control. Taking action to quit now will reduce the likelihood of you developing bladder cancer later.
- Commit to quit smoking: Set a date. Consider the health benefits of quitting smoking, including a decreased risk of bladder cancer occurrence (or recurrence if you're in recovery), improved overall health and the gradual disappearance of smoker's cough.
- Write down a list of reasons to quit: Review this list often. Be honest about your needs — not all approaches to quitting smoking work for everyone. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your options and what support they can provide.
- Appreciate your accomplishment after quitting: You've taken a huge step in selecting a healthier lifestyle. Most relapses and slips occur within the first several weeks, when withdrawal symptoms are at their strongest, and the body still requires nicotine to feel normal. Many individuals relapse back to smoking before they're able to stay tobacco-free successfully. It took time for you to become a cigarette smoker, and it will take some time for you to become a comfortable non-smoker, too. While quitting smoking isn't easy, it is one healthy change that will provide you with a range of benefits to your overall health.
After quitting, most former smokers typically notice their circulation and breathing improve, along with their sense of taste and smell. They also decrease their risk of heart attack and death from lung cancer. After a decade, many former smokers have reduced their bladder cancer risk by half.
You'll also experience social benefits. You won't be risking your family and friends as a result of SHS, and you'll gain more control over your health and life. You'll also be setting a better example for your children and grandchildren. Added to this, you could save over $2,000 a year, which is the estimated cost of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Take Charge of Your Health With Cxbladder
Early detection saves lives and is a crucial factor when it comes to the treatment of bladder cancer. Cxbladder is a clinically proven cutting-edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer in patients presenting with blood in the urine (hematuria) and those being monitored for recurrence. The test works at a molecular level, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
Cxbladder is discrete, quick, non-invasive and painless, typically giving you meaningful results within five working days. It comes as a suite of three test options, each optimized for a different point in the patient journey.
- Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help rapidly rule out the disease.
- Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Monitor: Optimized for bladder cancer surveillance, reducing the need on further invasive tests in some patients.
Cxbladder gives you peace of mind and will help your doctor make informed treatment decisions. Speak to your urologist to learn more about Cxbladder and which test might be right for you. You can also contact our Customer Service Team directly.