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Chemicals That Cause Bladder Cancer

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Occurrence In The United States

Bladder Cancer, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 81,180 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2022 and that 17,100 people will die of the disease. The incidence of bladder cancer increases with age, with the median age at diagnosis being 73 years bladder cancer is rarely diagnosed before age 40 years.

Bladder cancer is about 4 times more common in men than in women. The male predominance in bladder cancer in the United States reflects the prevalence of transitional cell carcinoma . With small cell carcinomain contrast to TCCthe male-to-female incidence ratio is 1:2.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men in the United States, after prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer, but it is not among the top 10 cancers in women. Accordingly, more men than women are expected to die of bladder cancer in 2022, with 12,120 deaths in men versus 4980 in women. Nevertheless, women generally have a worse prognosis than men.

The incidence of bladder cancer is twice as high in White men as in Black men in the United States. However, Blacks have a worse prognosis than Whites.

Limited data indicate that small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder probably has the same epidemiologic characteristics as urothelial carcinoma. Patients are more likely to be male and older than 50 years.

What Is The Evidence That Personal Hair Dye Use Is Associated With Risk Of Leukemia

Studies of the association between personal hair dye use and the risk of leukemia have had conflicting results. For example, one case-control study examined hair dye use among 769 patients with adult acute leukemia and 623 people without leukemia in the United States and Canada . It found that the risks of acute leukemia were higher among users of earlier formulations of both permanent and nonpermanent dyes than among those who had not used dyes, although the increases were not statistically significant. No risk increases were seen among users of more recent dye formulations. Risk was greatest among those who had used permanent dyes for longer durations .

However, a case-control study in Italy found no association between use of permanent hair dye overall and risk of leukemia, although users of black permanent dyes, but not of other color dyes, did have an increased risk. This study, however, did not collect information on the timing or frequency of hair dye use .

What Are The Causes Of Bladder Cancer

While the exact cause of bladder cancer is not known, certain risk factors are linked to the disease, including tobacco smoking and exposure to certain chemicals and gases. Also, people with a family history of bladder cancer have a high risk of developing the disease. Known risk factors for bladder cancer include:

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What Is A Burn Pit

A burn pit is an approach to waste disposal that has been used by the US military at bases in the Middle East, mainly in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning in 2001. Burn pits are large areas where tons of waste products are burned in the open air. Typically, JP-8 jet fuel, which contains benzene, has been used as an accelerant. Burn pits create large volumes of toxic smoke and other substances. They give off more air pollution than contained burning, because the burning takes place in an open area and at lower temperatures.

Military personnel and contractors who have spent time near burn pits likely had high levels of exposure to air pollution, especially those people assigned to tend the pits. However, other people have been exposed as well, due to burn pit emissions being carried to surrounding areas by the wind.

How Smoking May Increase Your Risk

Urinary Bladder Cancer Royalty Free Stock Photography

Chemicals in the smoke get into the bloodstream. They are then filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and end up in the urine. When the urine is stored in the bladder, these chemicals are in contact with the bladder lining.

Chemicals called arylamines are known to cause bladder cancer. Arylamines in cigarette smoke may be the cause of the increased risk.

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How Do Bladder Cancer Mutations Occur

Some of these acquired gene mutations result from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or radiation. For example, chemicals in tobacco smoke can be absorbed into the blood, filtered by the kidneys, and end up in urine, where they can affect bladder cells. Other chemicals may reach the bladder the same way. But sometimes, gene changes may just be random events that sometimes happen inside a cell, without having an outside cause.

Screening For Bladder Cancer

You may have developed bladder cancer without having any symptoms. Two tests are currently used to help detect bladder cancer before symptoms develop.

One is a test for blood in the urine. The other is a test for abnormal cells in the urine.

Neither of these tests will tell us whether or not you have bladder cancer. However, they can identify workers who should have further tests for bladder cancer. These tests are called screening tests.

Testing for Blood in Your Urine

There may also be so little blood in your urine that it cannot be seen. Yet this small amount of blood may be a sign of bladder cancer. Therefore, your urine should be tested for blood.

Testing Your Urine for Abnormal Cells

Another way that bladder cancer can be detected early is by looking at the cells that normally appear in your urine under a microscope. Cancer cells look different under a microscope than normal bladder cells.

Both of these tests can be done using a sample of your urine which you collect in the privacy of your home or restroom. The urine will be sent to the laboratory. If any evidence of blood or abnormal cells are found, you will need to see a doctor about further tests. These additional tests will determine whether or not you have bladder cancer.

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Who Is At Risk Of Developing Occupational Bladder Cancer

Evidence suggests that certain professions which traditionally have had prolonged contact with high-risk carcinogens may be at an increased risk of developing occupational bladder cancer. Some of these professions include:

The good news is that extensive research into the causes of occupational bladder cancer over the last few decades has helped to raise awareness of the disease leading to improved prevention practices at work, particularly in some of the highest-risk environments. This is helping to reduce rates of occupational bladder cancer in a number of professional groups1.

That being said, research is still uncovering other chemicals and agents commonly used in the workplace that may increase a persons risk to bladder cancer. For example, recent analysis has found evidence that the profile of occupations at greatest risk of occupational bladder cancer is changing, and could now affect women more than men1.

How Common Is Bladder Cancer

Mayo Clinic Explains Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. This terrible affliction affects approximately 68,000 adults in the United States each year. Its most commonly found in the bladder, but this same type of cancer can be found in other parts of the urinary tract.

Bladder cancer is highly treatable at an early stage. Fortunately, approximately seven out of every ten bladder cancer diagnoses start out at an early stage. However, even though it can be treated if caught early, it can also recur. Typically, those diagnosed with bladder cancer have follow up tests regularly after bladder cancer treatment to ensure they stay cancer free.

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Is Your Job Giving You Bladder Cancer

May 9, 2019

Work is stressful enough. Then add on top of it the additional concern that it may be making you sick. Not sick of your job, but actually physically sick.

For example, would you be surprised if where you work and the materials you came into contact with could be causing bladder cancer? The fact of the matter is that certain jobs in certain industries put workers at higher exposure to industrial chemicals that are known risk factors for bladder cancer.

Rare Forms Of Bladder Cancer

Adenocarcinomas account for less than 2% of primary bladder tumors. These lesions are observed most commonly in exstrophic bladders and are often associated with malignant degeneration of a persistent urachal remnant.

Other rare forms of bladder cancer include leiomyosarcoma, rhabdosarcoma, carcinosarcoma, lymphoma, and small cell carcinoma. Leiomyosarcoma is the most common sarcoma of the bladder. Rhabdomyosarcomas most commonly occur in children. Carcinosarcomas are highly malignant tumors that contain a combination of mesenchymal and epithelial elements. Primary bladder lymphomas arise in the submucosa of the bladder. Except for lymphomas, all these rare bladder cancers carry a poor prognosis.

Small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder is a poorly differentiated, malignant neoplasm that originates from urothelial stem cells and has variable expression of neuroendocrine markers. Morphologically, it shares features of small cell carcinoma of other organs, including the lung.

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Where Is The Bladder Located

Your kidneys, located in the rear portion of your upper abdomen, produce urine by filtering waste and fluid from your blood. Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer most often begins in

How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Bladder Cancer

Tobacco and Cancer

Healthcare providers do a series of tests to diagnose bladder cancer, including:

  • Urinalysis: Providers use a variety of tests to analyze your pee. In this case, they may do urinalysis to rule out infection.
  • Cytology: Providers examine cells under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Cystoscopy: This is the primary test to identify and diagnose bladder cancer. For this test, providers use a pencil-sized lighted tube called a cystoscope to view the inside of your bladder and urethra. They may use a fluorescent dye and a special blue light that makes it easier to see cancer in your bladder. Providers may also take tissue samples while doing cystoscopies.

If urinalysis, cytology and cystoscopy results show you have bladder cancer, healthcare providers then do tests to learn more about the cancer, including:

Healthcare providers then use what they learn about the cancer to stage the disease. Staging cancer helps providers plan treatment and develop a potential prognosis or expected outcome.

Bladder cancer can be either early stage or invasive .

The stages range from TA to IV . In the earliest stages , the cancer is confined to the lining of your bladder or in the connective tissue just below the lining, but hasnt invaded the main muscle wall of your bladder.

Stages II to IV denote invasive cancer:

A more sophisticated and preferred staging system is TNM, which stands for tumor, node involvement and metastases. In this system:

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Toxic Exposures Linked With Burn Pits

Environmental sampling of the air and soil near burn pits has documented the presence of several chemical compounds shown in studies to be linked with inflammation and body tissue damage, particularly in the respiratory tract. Incomplete combustion of organic and inorganic material in burn pits results in high volumes of toxic particulate matter in the air that includes metals, benzene, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzo-p-furans , polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons , volatile organic compounds , and other compounds.

There is extensive evidence in other situations that PM in air pollution is linked to heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , lung cancer, and an overall increased risk of death.

Although its almost impossible to prove that burn pits cause these same health issues, this evidence suggests that the health issues reported by veterans with exposures from burn pits and other chemicals linked to their deployment are reason for concern.

Personnel at these military bases have also been exposed to other air pollutants from a combination of local and regional sources. This includes dust made up of industrial emissions and waste, as well as aircraft and ground transportation emissions that mix with soil and are spread by the wind.

Why It Is Important To Detect Bladder Cancer Early

Honest and open conversations with your doctor or healthcare professional at an early stage can help provide assurance, and can also make sure that you receive any tests or medical care you might need. Early detection of any potential problem is key to making sure that you can receive the best possible care and increase chances of a successful outcome.

Depending on your own individual risk profile and any symptoms you may have, you may undergo tests or a schedule of regular checks for reassurance, and to make sure any possible changes in the bladder are detected early.

These tests commonly include traditional investigations which involve imaging, cystoscopy and sampling your urine for traces of blood or cancer cells.

Genomic urine tests, such as Cxbladder, are a newer non-invasive type of test which can measure gene expression in your urine. This genetic information is combined with knowledge of any clinical risk factors, to quickly and accurately detect or rule out bladder cancer.

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Can Afghanistan And Gulf War Veterans Be Tested For Exposure To Contaminants From Burn Pits

At this time, there are no widely available, simple lab tests that can show if someone was exposed to burn pit contaminants. Because of this, the US Department of Veterans Affairs presumes that all veterans who served in certain places at certain times might have been exposed, and therefore might be eligible for certain medical benefits for service-related disabilities.

Active Steps You Can Take:

Bladder Cancer: Basics of Diagnosis, Workup, Pathology, and Treatment
  • Watch out for common signs and symptoms. Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer, and is usually the first symptom noticed by patients. Discomfort and pain on urination, or changes in urination habits can also be early symptoms. Read more about symptoms of bladder cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor. It can be worth reaching out and having a conversation with your doctor about your worries, even if you have no signs or symptoms. You can ask questions about any current or past occupational risk factors for bladder cancer you might have identified, as well as any other possible issues.

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How Does Occupational Bladder Cancer Develop

Most cases of occupational bladder cancer can be linked to long periods of time working with certain types of industrial chemicals. Prolonged exposure to chemicals or environmental risks that can repeatedly damage and cause changes to DNA in cells lining the bladder. Over time this may lead to tumor development, and bladder cancer.

It can take a long time for occupational bladder cancer to develop. Sometimes a diagnosis is not made until years or even decades after the individual has stopped working with potentially hazardous chemicals. Research suggests the average length of time between starting to work with potential bladder-cancer causing agents and developing bladder cancer can be as long as 20 to 30 years1.

Certain Medicines Or Herbal Supplements

According to the US Food and Drug Administration , use of the diabetes medicine pioglitazone is linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The risk seems to get higher when higher doses are used.

Dietary supplements containing aristolochic acid have been linked with an increased risk of urothelial cancers, including bladder cancer.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Bladder cancer is relatively rare, so you may not know as much as youd like about the condition. Here are some questions that may be helpful:

  • What stage of bladder cancer do I have?
  • What are possible treatments?
  • What are treatment side effects?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • How will surgery affect my daily life?
  • How often does bladder cancer come back?
  • How do you treat recurrent bladder cancer?
  • Are there any cutting-edge clinical trials available?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If you have bladder cancer, it may help to know about half of all people with the condition receive treatment when their tumors are limited to the inner layer of their bladder wall. For them, surgery to remove tumors means theyre cancer-free. But bladder cancer often comes back . If youre worried about recurring cancer, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyre your best resource for information on risk factors that increase the chance youll have another bout of bladder cancer. Theyll help you stay vigilant about symptoms that may be signs of recurring bladder cancer and be there for you if you need more bladder cancer treatment.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/26/2022.


Risk Factors Due To Lifestyle


Smoking: While many people believe that smoking is mainly associated with lung cancer patients, it is also one of the most important risk factors for bladder cancer patients. Those who smoke are actually 3x more likely to get bladder cancer as compared to non-smokers.

Chemical Exposures Due to the Workplace: There are certain work environments that can lead to bladder cancer. Generally, individuals who work in environments using industrial chemicals such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine are linked to bladder cancer.

Other work environments that are linked to bladder cancer as well include paint manufacturing and printing, along with those working with rubber, textiles, and leather due to the organic chemicals used in these industries.

Additionally, hairdressers have an increased risk due to heavy exposure to hair dyes. On the other end, individuals working in the trucking industry have an increased risk due to exposure to diesel fumes.

Certain Medicine and Herbal Supplements: It’s important to be mindful of certain medicines and herbal supplements that you take as they can be linked to bladder cancer. For instance, a study performed by the FDA showed that a diabetic medicine called pioglitazone or Atos, has been shown to increase your risk of bladder cancer.

With that said, your exposure to arsenic will depend on where you live and what water source you use. However, the U.S has worked to implement safety measures that limit the level of arsenic in public water.

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