The London Clinic, 120 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JW
Cancer happens when changes in your DNA allow some of your cells to keep growing and multiplying, creating tumours. We don’t always know what causes the changes that make cells cancerous, but in the case of bladder cancer there are certain chemicals and risk factors that may be involved.

Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer

Although it’s impossible to predict who will go on to develop bladder cancer, there are some factors that can make you more likely to be affected:

  • Your age: bladder cancer is more common in older people and is rarely seen in the under 40s
  • Your sex: men are slightly more likely to develop bladder cancer than women
  • Family history: if a close relative has had this type of cancer, you may be more likely to develop it
  • Your medical history: if you’ve had lots of urinary infections or problems with bladder stones in the past, it can raise your risk of bladder cancer. Having radiotherapy for other kinds of cancer in the pelvic area can also increase the risk.

Chemical Exposure

If you were exposed to certain chemicals used in dyes, textiles, paints, plastics and other industries, they could have put you at risk of bladder cancer. Although most of these chemicals are now banned, you could have been exposed to them in the past. If you believe that your bladder cancer is linked to chemical exposure in the workplace, you may be eligible for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Bladder Cancer and Smoking

You can’t do anything about most of the risk factors for bladder cancer, but there is one major risk that you can avoid. Smoking is believed to be responsible for up to half of all cases of bladder cancer. The chemicals you breathe in pass into your bloodstream. After they are filtered out by the kidneys, they are collected in the bladder with your urine. While they are stored here, they can damage the cells lining your bladder, which can lead to cancer. Giving up smoking can reduce your risk, even if you’ve been smoking for a long time. It could also help to reduce your risk of developing other kinds of cancer and improve your general health.


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