Heads up, smokers. Puffing on that tobacco will not just cause undue harm to your lungs, but it could also lead to adverse effects on your bladder.

Research made by Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) in Chicago showed that smoking can do a lot of harm to the bladder, putting smokers at a higher risk of bladder cancer, with three times more risk compared to non-smokers.

In a university news release, Dr Srinivas Vourganti, a urologist at RUMC said that many people know that smoking can cause lung cancer but not everyone knows about bladder cancer. The vice has caused more than half of all the cases of bladder cancer. Vourganti explained that some of the harmful chemicals that a person inhales whenever he smokes can accumulate in the urine. Since it is the bladder that holds the urine, the organ is thereby exposed to the harmful chemicals at a rate higher than other parts of the body.

Aside from smoking, there are other risk factors for bladder cancer. Some of them would include exposure to secondhand smoke, dyes, and also toxic solvents. Those who experience chronic bladder irritation and recurring urinary tract infection are also at higher risk.

In the United States, the sixth most common form of cancer is bladder cancer. Men are said to be more susceptible to this kind of cancer compared to women as the disease is three times more common among males. As people age, their risk also increases, considering that 90 percent of patients suffering from bladder cancer are more than 55 years old. However, just like other types of cancer, early detection of the disease can benefit the patient as it is said to be more treatable in the early stages. Those who have family members like a parent or sibling who have bladder cancer are also more likely to have the disease, albeit, this disease is rarely hereditary.

Edward Cherullo, a urologist at RUMC, noted that their number one tool in detecting the presence of the disease is only when a doctor would order a patient to undergo a urine test after finding blood in the urine as there is no routine screening for bladder cancer. It is not the same with breast or colon cancer where routine screenings are in place. He said that for those who find blood in their urine, it is with utmost importance that they tell their doctor immediately.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology enumerated some of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer. These include blood or blood clots in the urine, burning sensation when urinating, pain during urination, and also frequent urination.

Smoking and risk of developing bladder cancer. Photo: Pixabay