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Bladder Cancer Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Although the cause of bladder cancer is unknown, it is linked to tobacco use and exposure to certain chemicals.

  • Smoking and Bladder Cancer: Smoking is responsible for approximately 47 percent of bladder cancer deaths among men and 37 percent among women, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Workplace Exposure and Bladder Cancer: Workers in the rubber, chemical, leather, textile, metal, and printing industries exposed to substances such as aniline dye and aromatic amines may have increased risk for bladder cancer. Other at-risk occupations include hairdressers, machinists, painters, and truck drivers.

Warning Signs of Bladder Cancer

The most common warning sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria), which may or may not be visible. (Visible urine is called gross hematuria; invisible is called microscopic hematuria.) Other symptoms may include: change in bladder habits, including having to urinate more often, an urgent need to urinate, or burning when you urinate; needing to urinate but not being able to; difficulty initiating or stopping urine flow; weak, interrupted, or painful urine flow; abdominal pain; loss of weight or appetite; persistent lower back, upper thigh, or pelvic pain.