Bladder Cancer Risk Factors

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors

While not all of the risk factors for bladder cancer are understood, doctors know that certain behaviors and environmental exposures can increase someone’s risk for getting bladder cancer. These include:


Smoking is the greatest risk factor – smokers get bladder cancer twice as often as people who don’t smoke. Get tips on Smoking Cessation. You can also read an article article about Smoking Cessation and Cancer Survivorship published in the Journal of the American Medical Association here. Learn more about e-cigarettes, smoking and bladder cancer by watching this webinar.

Chemical exposure

Some chemicals used in the making of dye have been linked to bladder cancer. People who work with chemicals called aromatic amines may have a higher risk. These chemicals are used in making rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles, and paint products.


Caucasians are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as are African Americans or Hispanics. Asians have the lowest rate of bladder cancer.


The risk of bladder cancer increases as you get older.


While men get bladder cancer more often than women, recent statistics show an increase in the number of women being diagnosed with the disease. Unfortunately, because the symptoms of bladder cancer are similar to those of other gynecologic and urinary diseases affecting women, women may be diagnosed when their disease is at a more advanced stage.

To view the recording of the emerging evidence that suggests that sex (gender) influences the ability of bladder cancers to establish and/or proliferate, watch the Biologic Sex Differences in Bladder Cancer recording.

Chronic bladder inflammation

Urinary infections, kidney stones, and bladder stones don’t cause bladder cancer, but they have been linked to it.

Personal history of bladder cancer

People who have had bladder cancer have a higher chance of getting another tumor in their urinary system. People whose family members have had bladder cancer may also have a higher risk.

Birth defects of the bladder 

Very rarely, a connection between the belly button and the bladder doesn’t disappear as it should before birth and can become cancerous.


Arsenic in drinking water has been linked to a higher chance of getting bladder cancer. Learn more about water pollutants and bladder cancer.

Earlier cancer treatment

Some drugs (in particular Cytoxan/cyclophosphamide) or radiation used to treat other cancers can increase the risk of bladder cancer.

More information about bladder cancer risk factors


If you would like more information on bladder cancer risk factors, we invite you to view our webinar, Bladder Cancer – Risks and Prevention.