(HealthDay) – Smoking greatly increases your chances of developing bladder cancer, experts warn.
"Everyone knows that smoking causes lung cancer, but they don't always know about bladder cancer," said Dr. Srinivas Vourganti, a urologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago who specializes in the treatment of bladder and other urinary tract cancers.
Smoking causes more than half of all bladder cancer cases, and smokers are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers.
"The same harmful chemicals that you breathe when you smoke build up in your urine. Because the bladder contains urine, it is more exposed to these toxins than other parts of the body," Vourganti said in a university press release.
Exposure to secondhand smoke and toxic solvents and dyes are other major risk factors for bladder cancer, as are recurrent urinary tract infections and other causes of chronic bladder irritation.
Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States. It's more than three times more common in men than women, and the risk increases with age. Nine out of ten patients are older than 55 years.
According to Vourganti and Dr. Edward Cherullo, a urologist at Rush, like other cancers, is best treatable when it occurs in the early stages.
"Because there is no routine screening for bladder cancer, as there is for breast or colon cancer, the most important tool for early diagnosis of bladder cancer is when a family doctor orders a urine test that finds blood in the urine," said Cherullo .
Tell your doctor if you have blood in your urine, or if you urinate frequently and / or painfully. While these symptoms are often caused by non-life-threatening conditions like urinary tract infection, overactive bladder, or enlarged prostate, it's important to be checked out to rule out bladder cancer.
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Contact the American Cancer Society for more information on bladder cancer.
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Quit Smoking, Your Bladder Will Thank You (2020, November 26th)
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