According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Cancer, individuals who smoke and children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
The bladder is an organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine after it is released from the kidneys until it is passed out of the body. Bladder cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the United States. It is responsible for approximately 13,000 deaths annually.
Cure rates remain high for bladder cancer that is detected and treated early?prior to spread from its site of origin. Cure rates fall dramatically, however, if the cancer is detected at a more advanced stage.
Risk of bladder cancer increases with age, and men are more commonly affected than women. Because smoking has been linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer, researchers continue to evaluate specific aspects of smoking in relation to bladder cancer risk.
To further assess the relationship between bladder cancer and smoking, researchers from Europe recently conducted a study involving nearly 430,000 individuals who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). During the follow-up period, 633 of the participants had developed bladder cancer.
- A significantly increased risk of bladder cancer occurred in individuals who were smokers or former smokers compared to never-smokers.
- The risk of bladder cancer increased even further among current smokers if they smoked more cigarettes, smoked for a longer duration of time, or started smoking earlier in their life.
- Exposure to second-hand smoke during childhood increased the risk for the development of bladder cancer later in life; however, exposure to second-hand smoke during adulthood did not appear to increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.
The researchers concluded that not only are smokers at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, but children who are exposed to second-hand smoke also have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer within their lifetime.
Reference: Bjerregaard B, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Sorensen M, et al. Tobacco Smoke and Bladder Cancer – in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. International Journal of Cancer. 2006;119:2412 – 2416.