Women Smokers Equal Men in Bladder Cancer

Many of us know, and can probably name, the obvious health problems that can develop with smoking and using tobacco.   If you smoke, you have a known risk factor for lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  If you use smokeless tobacco you can have a higher chance of cancer of the mouth, including the lip, cheek and gum.   We know that smoking speeds up the aging process and produces wrinkles.  Did you know that it can also affect your bladder?

The September 2011 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports the finding that current smokers are three times more common to have urinary urgency and frequency as those who never smoked.  This condition is common in women, but smoking can cause the problem to increase.

More alarming is the fact that if you are a smoker, you are at a higher risk factor for bladder cancer.  A National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health study confirmed that bladder cancer due to cigarette smoking is greater than previously believed.  For women who smoke, bladder cancer now equals men and smoking is responsible for about 50% of the cases of bladder cancer, up from the 20 to 30% found in earlier studies.

Cigarette smoke contains carcinogenic compounds which affect the cells of the bladder.
Although tar and nicotine in cigarettes have decreased over the years, the study suggests these carcinogenic compounds may have increased.

Current smokers are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers, and “former smokers” are still twice as likely to develop bladder cancer.  According to the NIH, about 69,250 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011, and it will take 14,990 lives.

“You’ve come a long way, baby,” but somehow urination frequency, bladder cancer and other health affects of smoking weren’t on women’s minds when they picked up that first cigarette.  Teachers can help students make more informed decisions regarding tobacco and their health by teaching tobacco prevention.  Florida educators may receive up to 60 in-service credits as approved by you district.  For more information on Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Intervention, click here.

Click here to read more on NIH study.

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