The Truth Behind Cigarettes: Does Smoking Cause Bladder Cancer?

does smoking cause bladder cancerOoh, that was embarrassing. You laughed too hard and peed yourself a little. It doesn’t look like anyone noticed, so you’re okay, right?

Well, no one noticed, but that doesn’t mean you’re okay. Where are these bladder problems coming from?

They could be coming from that little cigarette between your fingers.

Lung cancer usually gets all the attention when it comes to cigarette smoking. The statistics are clear, 80 to 90% of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking. But lung cancer is not the only kind of cancer that cigarettes can cause.

Does smoking cause bladder cancer?

Let’s find out.

Urge Incontinence

Urge incontinence is the sudden and uncontrollable need to urinate. It can range from being mildly uncomfortable to causing leakage or full on accidents.

Urge incontinence often appears in conjunction with chronic diseases. It is often seen in folks with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes. It may also appear in someone who has had a stroke.

But what if you don’t have any of these problems? Why would urge incontinence be affecting you?

Do you smoke? This is likely to be the culprit. Urge incontinence is found to be 3 times more likely in women who smoke as opposed to those who don’t. Additionally, the more a woman smokes the worse the problem will be.

As annoying as urge incontinence can be, it isn’t necessarily life-threatening. However, it can be a precursor to bladder cancer.

If you’re struggling with urge incontinence, there are medications that can help. Click here to learn more about them.

Does Smoking Cause Bladder Cancer?

So if smoking plays such a role in urge incontinence, does that mean that smoking can cause bladder cancer?

Yes and no.

While the role of smoking in urge incontinence is unclear, its role in bladder cancer is more obvious.

When you smoke, you take in high concentrations of toxins into your body. Your body needs to get rid of those toxins somehow. One of the ways that your body naturally cleans itself is through urinating.

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This means that a high concentration of toxins sits in your bladder waiting for the next time you go to the bathroom. This constant exposure to chemicals and toxins is what can cause bladder cancer to develop.

The link between smoking and bladder cancer is so strong that smoking is considered the single most important risk factor for bladder cancer.

Signs of Bladder Cancer

If you’re a smoker, you’re at least three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than a non-smoker. Thus, you should know the signs of bladder cancer. It’s something you should be on the lookout for.

We’ve already mentioned that urge incontinence can be a precursor to bladder cancer. Other factors can include:

  • Frequent or burning urination
  • Recurring bladder infections
  • Blood appearing in the urine

If you notice any of these symptoms you should see your doctor right away. When caught early, bladder cancer is highly treatable. But without medical intervention or when the disease is caught too late, bladder cancer can lead to death.

Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer

Smoking may be the single most important risk factor for bladder cancer, but it’s not the only one. There are a few other preventable, and non-preventable, risk factors for this disease.

The preventable ones include:

  • Exposure to chemicals in the workplace
  • Exposure to arsenic in drinking water
  • Some medications and even herbal supplements
  • Not drinking enough fluids

There are also a few risk factors for bladder cancer that you can’t do much about. These include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Personal medical history
  • Frequent bladder infections
  • Gender

Just because you have one or more of these risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop bladder cancer. But it does mean that your risk of getting the disease is higher.

Lowering Your Risk of Bladder Cancer

Since smoking is the number one risk factor for bladder cancer, the number one way to lower your risk of bladder cancer is to not smoke. Even people who used to smoke have a lower risk of developing bladder cancer than current smokers. However, their risk is still higher than people who have never smoked at all.

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To lower your risk of developing bladder cancer, do your best to quit smoking. Try looking into these essential oils to help you with withdrawal symptoms.

If quitting smoking has been difficult for you, you may want to be aware of other risk factors to lower your chance of developing cancer as much as possible. Limiting your exposure to chemicals is one of the best ways you can do this.

Many of the chemicals that can increase the risk of bladder cancer appear in the workplace. Some of these include:

  • Chemicals used for making rubber, textiles, leather, and paint
  • Hair dyes used by many hairdressers
  • Diesel fumes

To lower your risk of developing bladder cancer, do your best to avoid these chemicals if at all possible. This is especially important if you choose to continue smoking.

We should note here that arsenic in the water is not too much of a concern in most of the United States.

Try a Smoking Alternative Today!

Does smoking cause bladder cancer? Now that you know there’s such a strong link, what will you do?

Admittedly, it can be extremely difficult to quit smoking. Many people have tried and failed, and some multiple times. You may be one of them.

It’s easier to quit smoking if you have something to replace it with. Have you ever considered trying out e-cigarettes or vaping?

You can find out more about this option by checking out our great e-cig articles. Start with this one that talks about how e-cigs can help you stop smoking.