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Friday, June 6, 2008

Causes of bladder cancer

Some of the possible causes of cancer of the bladder are now known, but research is going on all the time to find out more.

Bladder cancer occurs most commonly in people between 50 and 70 years of age. It is twice as common in men as in women. Bladder cancer is very rare in men and women younger than 40 years of age.

Some things are known to increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.

Cigarette smoking is the most important factor in the UK. Specific chemicals that cause bladder cancer have been found in cigarette smoke. It takes a long time for the chemicals to cause bladder cancer, and the more cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk.

The other main cause of bladder cancer is exposure to certain chemicals at work: for example, those used in dye factories, rubber, gasworks, plastics and other chemical industries. These chemicals were banned in the UK in 1967. However, it can take about 25 years after exposure to the chemicals for bladder cancers to develop. If you think that you were exposed to certain chemicals through your work, let your cancer doctor know. You may be able to claim Industrial Disease Benefit from the Department of Social Security.

In parts of the world where bilharzia (a chronic parasitic infection of the bladder) is common, there are many cases of cancer of the bladder. This infection does not occur in the UK, but can affect people who have lived in Africa.

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