Public unaware of link between smoking and bladder cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

The majority of people are unaware that smoking increases the risk of bladder cancer, according to a new US study.

Cigarette smoking accounts for up to half of all cases of bladder cancer, yet a team at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre have discovered that only 22 per cent of people with the disease are aware of the link.

The study, published in the Journal of Urology, calls for doctors to provide patients with better information about the risks of smoking and to give them more support to give up.

 

Senior author Dr James Montie, professor of urologic oncology at the University of Michigan Health System, said: "The general public understands that cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer, but very few people understand that it also can lead to bladder cancer."

Dr Montie noted that in the first four years after a smoker quits, the risk of developing bladder cancer drops by 40 per cent.

Lead author Dr Seth Strope, a clinical lecturer in the university's department of urology, added: "A big gap exists between patient knowledge and their actual risk. Our study suggests that physicians must do a much better job of communicating the risk to our patients, and directing them toward smoking cessation programmes."

As well as smoking, being white, male, and having a family history of the disease also increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.