Preventing bladder cancer begins by making the healthiest choices every day. Although genetics, aging and other unknowns can not be controlled, by making meaningful lifestyle changes, the odds for preventing cancer can be increased. Warding off bladder cancer begins by learning the risk factors which predispose people to the disease. Below are the factors which pose the greatest risk of bladder cancer.
Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer:
- Cigarette smoking: risk proportional to number of packs smoked daily and number of years of smoking
- Exposure to environmental carcinogens: dyes, rubber, leather, ink or paint
- Recurrent or chronic bacterial infections of the urinary tract
- Bladder stones
- High urinary pH
- High cholesterol
- Pelvic radiation therapy
- Cancers originating from the prostate, colon, and rectum in males
Cigarette Smoking Tobacco smoke is considered to be the single most lethal chemical carcinogen, accounting for at least 30% of cancer deaths. Smoking is strongly associated with cancers of the lung, head and neck, esophagus, pancreas, cervix and bladder. Tobacco may also act synergistically with other substances, such as alcohol, asbestos, uranium, and viruses, to promote cancer development.
Exposure to Environmental Agents
Environmental factors associated with cancer include exposure to sunlight, radiation, and tobacco use. Occupational hazards related to bladder cancer are found in toxins like dyes, rubber, paint, asbestos, ink and leather.
Recurrent Urinary Infections
Infections from sexually transmitted diseases, poor hygiene, or non-compliance with antibiotic treatments can irritate and inflame urinary organs, making it difficult to void.
There are numerous causes of bladder stones, including a malfunctioning organ or hormones. Choosing healthy food and drinking plenty of water will help avoid bladder stones.
High Urinary pH
Urine is naturally acidic to protect us from microscopic pathogens. Poor food choices are the root cause of high urinary pH. Cranberry juice and fresh vegetables help make urinary pH less acidic and within the normal range.
Processed foods high in trans fatty acids, high caloric intake, little exercise, sedentary lifestyles, obesity and stress all contribute to highcholesterol. Lifestyle changes can play a significant role in reducing high cholesterol. Consult a physician to manage cholesterol levels — medication may be advised. A dietician may help by recommending healthier, more nutritious food choices.
Using Reagent Strips
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is hematuria, or blood in the urine. New research is being done on the use of reagent strips to identify microscopic amounts of blood in the urine. At present, however, this product is still being evaluated.