Cancer Home > Bladder Cancer Risk Factors

Anything that increases a person's chance of developing bladder cancer is called a risk factor. These include (but are not limited to) age, tobacco use, occupation, and infection. It is important to note that risk factors do not cause bladder cancer; however, research has shown that people with these factors are more likely than others to develop the disease.

What Are the Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer?

No one knows the exact bladder cancer cause, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get the disease and another person will not; however, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop bladder cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.
Specific risk factors for bladder cancer include:
  • Age
  • Tobacco use
  • Occupation
  • Infection
  • Treatment with cyclophosphamide or arsenic
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Family history
  • Previous history of bladder cancer.
The likelihood of developing bladder cancer increases as people get older. People under 40 years of age rarely get it.
Tobacco Use
The use of tobacco is a major bladder cancer risk factor. Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely than nonsmokers to get bladder cancer. Pipe and cigar smokers are also at an increased risk.
Some workers have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer if there are carcinogens in the workplace, such as:
  • Workers in the rubber, chemical, and leather industries
  • Hairdressers
  • Machinists
  • Metal workers
  • Printers
  • Painters
  • Textile workers
  • Truck drivers.
Being infected with certain parasites increases the risk of bladder cancer. These parasites are common in tropical areas but not in the United States.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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