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Bladder Cancer

Stay informed, lower your risk and live healthier.

Among men in the US, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer and men are four times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer.

This content was last updated on April 20, 2020

Approximately 81,000 new cases of bladder cancer will occur this year, with most cases occurring in men. Arsenic in drinking water is a factor that increases the risk of bladder cancer.

The bladder is a sac-like organ located in the pelvis area. When it is empty, it is about the size of a pear 

Every day, the average adult passes about six cups of urine through the bladderUrine is made in your kidneys and moves through two tubes into the bladder. The bladder holds the urine, allowing you to control when you empty it. The bladder can store a lot of urine – about two cups for women and three for men — expanding to hold even more when needed. 

The report also found hints of evidence that a diet high in both vegetables and fruits, and tea, may lower the risk, although some studies do not show this. More evidence related to diet and bladder cancer is needed for any firm conclusions. 

Read Full Report

CUP report on Bladder Cancer:

Lifestyle and bladder cancer risk.

  • Diet

    There is strong evidence that drinking water containing arsenic increases the risk of bladder cancer. 

    • Water can become contaminated by arsenic from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. In the US, public drinking water systems test for arsenic and are required to keep it below a specific level. Countries particularly affected by arsenic in drinking water include Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. 
  • Smoking

    Smoking is a key risk factor for bladder cancer.

    • Smokers’ risk of developing bladder cancer is six times higher than people who have never smoked.
  • Infection from parasitic worms

    This infection especially increases the risk for squamous cell carcinomas.

    • This is a less common type of bladder cancer that occurs more frequently in countries with high parasitic infection rates, such as Africa and the Middle East. 
  • Occupational exposure to specific chemicals

    People who work with metalworking fluids – such as sheet metal workers and machine operators – have a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer.

    • Risk increases with duration of employment. Exposure to chemicals used in the plastic and chemical industries, including aromatic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, has also been strongly associated with an elevated risk for this cancer. 
  • Age

    Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people.

    • About nine out of ten people with this cancer are over the age of 55, with the average age of diagnosis in the US at 73.  


Take a moment to check in with your health:

Foods that fight cancer.

No single food can protect you against cancer by itself. But research shows that a diet filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other plant foods helps lower risk for many cancers.

Cancer Updates

The science of survival.

AICR’s health guides and recommendations are developed from research that focuses on how nutrition and lifestyle affect the prevention, treatment, and survival of cancer. Paramount to our updates is the Continuous Update Project which helps you stay on top of new findings, and understand the data that sits at the center of our work.