Men are often urged to be on the lookout for prostate cancer or testicular cancer. They should add bladder cancer to the list. One of the 10 deadliest cancers, it is three times more common in men than in women. Early diagnosis can nip the disease in the bud, reports the April 2011 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch, and new treatments are improving the outlook for patients with advanced disease. Men can also take simple steps to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
Cigarette smoking is the most important cause of the disease. Smokers are more than twice as likely to get bladder cancer as nonsmokers. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, many of the toxins it contains are absorbed into the bloodstream, filtered by the kidneys, and excreted into the urine. As a result, the bladder lining is subject to prolonged contact with carcinogens.
A variety of industrial toxins can also injure bladder cells, eventually producing cancer. In the past, workers in the rubber, paint, electric, and textile industries were at substantial risk, but contemporary workplace safety regulations have greatly improved matters. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer appears to increase risk for bladder cancer years later.
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