Updated February 2008
Bladder cancer is the fifth most common and second most common genitourinary cancer diagnosis in British Columbia, affecting 30/100,000 men and 9/100,000 women.1 It appears to be more common in Caucasians than people of African, Hispanic, Asian or First Nations origins.2 Increasing age is also associated with increased incidence of bladder cancer.2
Cigarette smoking is one of the principal causes of bladder cancer and a strong association, with relative risks of three fold for long-term smokers, has been observed in a number of studies.3 Ionizing radiation is known to be a risk factor for bladder cancer, but because exposure at this site is rare, it is doubtful that it contributes significantly to incidence in Canada. Individuals whose source of drinking water for most of their lifetime is chlorinated surface water appear to have a slightly elevated risk.
Industrial and occupational exposures are thought to account for a significant proportion of bladder cancers among males. Workers exposed to 2-naphthylamine and benzidine have a 2-4 fold increased risk of bladder cancer, with risk residing mainly in those with high or prolonged exposure. Antioxidants containing 2-naphthylamine are used chiefly in the rubber industry. Leather workers and painters also have an elevated risk of bladder cancer. Aluminum workers exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the pot room area have elevated risks for bladder cancer, and the Workers' Compensation Board of B.C. recognizes bladder cancer due to long term exposure to pot room fumes as a compensable illness.
All superscript references in this Chapter, refer to the list of References (Management section).