Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer

Executive Summary

Risk factors influence the chance of developing cancer among individuals, but individuals with no risk factors also develop cancer. Age, race, and gender are the common risk factors for bladder cancer. Smoking, workplace exposure, arsenic, and low fluid consumption are lifestyle-related risk factors that increase the chances of developing bladder cancer. Other conditions related to bladder cancer include chronic bladder infections and irritation, personal history concerned with bladder cancer, and bladder defects from birth. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can irritate the bladder and elevate the risk for a long time. The intake of Pioglitazone who have diabetes is more prone to developing bladder cancer. The genetic and family history of bladder cancer have higher risk genes GNT and NAT may activate changes in the body’s breakdown of some toxins, causing bladder cancer. Retinoblastoma, Cowden disease, and Lynch syndrome show a higher risk of bladder tumour development.

Risk factors of Bladder Cancer

The Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer can be anything that influences the chance of developing any cancer. But having a risk factor, or many, does not give certainty of having particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop cancer ​1​.


  1. Age – The risk increases with an increase in age. 90% of people diagnosed are older than 55.
  2. Race- White people are twice more prone to develop bladder cancer than black ones. Asian Americans and American Indians have vaguely lower rates of bladder cancer.
  3. Gender – Men are four times more prone to develop bladder cancer than women, but women presumably die from bladder cancer than men.


  1. Smoking – People who smoke are at least three times as likely to get bladder cancer as people who don’t ​2​
  2. Workplace exposure – Certain industrial chemicals like Chemicals called aromatic amines, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine, which find their uses in the dye industry, can cause bladder tumour and are associated with bladder cancer risk ​3​
  3. Arsenic – Arsenic in drinking water has been linked with a higher risk of bladder tumour in some parts of the world.
  4. Low fluid consumption – People who drink a lot of fluids, especially water, each day tend to have lower rates of bladder cancer ​4​.

Also Read: Supplements & Herbs for Cancer

Other conditions

  1. Chronic Bladder infections and irritation – Urinary infections, kidney and bladder stones, and other causes of bladder irritation. Can increase the risk of bladder cancer. Schistosomiasis, a disease with a parasitic worm that can get into the bladder, is also a risk factor.
  2. Personal history of bladder cancer – People who have already had bladder cancer once are more likely to develop bladder cancer again.
  3. Bladder defects from birth – There’s a connection between the belly button and the bladder. If part of this connection remains after birth, it could become cancer. About 33% of the adenocarcinomas of the bladder begin here. 

Previous Treatments

  1. Chemotherapy and radiation Therapy – Taking the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®) for a long time can irritate the bladder and elevate the risk. 
  2. Pioglitazone risk – People who have taken the diabetes drug pioglitazone for more than one year probably have a greater risk of developing cancer.

Genetics and Family History

People having family members with bladder cancer have a higher risk of getting it themselves. Mutations in genes GNT and NAT may activate changes in the body’s breakdown of some toxins, causing cancer cells to form in the bladder.

  1. Retinoblastoma (RB1) gene mutation can cause eye cancer in infants and increase bladder cancer risk.
  2. Cowden disease, People with this disease also have a higher risk of cancer.
  3. Lynch syndrome People having this syndrome may also have an increased cancer risk. 


  1. 1.
    Burger M, Catto JWF, Dalbagni G, et al. Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Urothelial Bladder Cancer. European Urology. Published online February 2013:234-241. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2012.07.033
  2. 2.
    van Osch FH, Jochems SH, van Schooten FJ, Bryan RT, Zeegers MP. Quantified relations between exposure to tobacco smoking and bladder cancer risk: a meta-analysis of 89 observational studies. Int J Epidemiol. Published online April 20, 2016:857-870. doi:10.1093/ije/dyw044
  3. 3.
    Rushton L, Bagga S, Bevan R, et al. Occupation and cancer in Britain. Br J Cancer. Published online April 2010:1428-1437. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605637
  4. 4.
    Bai Y, Yuan H, Li J, Tang Y, Pu C, Han P. Relationship between bladder cancer and total fluid intake: a meta-analysis of epidemiological evidence. World J Surg Onc. Published online July 17, 2014. doi:10.1186/1477-7819-12-223