Identifying Bladder Cancer Causes and Risk Factors in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey

As the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, bladder cancer typically presents with such symptoms as unexpected weight loss, swelling in the legs, bloody urine, and more.

Bladder cancer survival rates are promising, and Regional Cancer Care Associates has helped thousands of patients throughout Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey overcome this disease. Unfortunately, diagnosis is often delayed because bladder cancer in its early stages causes no symptoms, so many patients lack symptoms that would cause alarm. Because early detection and proper treatment of cancer are so important in achieving positive outcomes, at-risk individuals should know the most common bladder cancer causes and risk factors and seek care immediately if symptoms occur.

Doctor pointing at model bladder

Your Medical History

The symptoms of bladder cancer, from anemia to back pain, may alternatively be associated with other medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Your medical history, however, could reveal whether your symptoms might be signs of cancer. Bladder cancer risk factors linked to your medical history include:

Prior Cancer Treatment

If you’ve been treated for cancer in the past, you could be at an elevated risk of bladder cancer due to certain anti-cancer compounds found in medications and treatments. That risk may be even higher for patients who have previously received radiation in the pelvic region.

Certain Diabetes Medications

If you have diabetes and your medication regimen includes the glucose-control compound pioglitazone (a thiazolidinedione sold under the brand name Actos), your risk of bladder cancer may increase, especially if you’ve been taking this agent for more than 1 year.

Chronic Bladder Inflammation

If you’re prone to frequent UTIs or suffer from other forms of chronic bladder inflammation, you may face an elevated risk of a variation of squamous cell bladder cancer.

Family/Personal History of Cancer

If there’s a family history of bladder cancer or another cancer type, especially among immediate family members, your risk may be elevated. Likewise, you’re also at higher risk if you’ve been previously diagnosed with cancer, especially of the bladder.

Lifestyle Choices

Our everyday activities and choices can also heighten our risk of bladder cancer. Fortunately, you may be able to limit or eliminate these bladder cancer causes by making lifestyle changes, such as:

Quitting Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is a known risk factor for many types of cancer, including bladder cancer. When inhaled, chemicals in cigarette smoke are excreted by the body into the urine. This can damage the lining of the bladder and increase cancer risk.

Limiting Chemical Exposure

Whether you work with toxic chemicals or live in an area with elevated exposure levels, these harmful contaminants are filtered by the kidneys and stored in the bladder. Over time, this likewise may damage the bladder’s lining and increase risk.

Demographic Factors

While anyone can be affected by bladder cancer, some demographic factors increase the likelihood of diagnosis, including:

Being Male

Bladder cancer affects more men than women at a ratio of 3:1. However, when women do develop bladder cancer, they’re more likely to have advanced tumors and a less positive prognosis.

Older Age

Though bladder cancer can develop at any age, it is rarely found in patients younger than age 40, meaning your risk increases as you grow older.

Being Caucasian

Compared to other races and ethnicities, Caucasians have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.

Understanding Bladder Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

While urinalysis is the most common test for detecting bladder cancer, there are currently no recommended screening methods for diagnosing asymptomatic patients. That’s why it’s so important to understand common bladder cancer causes and risk factors. If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder cancer, need more information about risk factors, or have been diagnosed, contact one of Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Connecticut, Maryland, or New Jersey locations today.