Like other types of cancers, the main bladder cancer causes are unknown. However, there are several factors associated with the causes of bladder cancer.

Changes In The DNA

Bladder cancer causes depend on the variations in the DNA of a standard cell found in the bladder. It may be due to mutations that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes. These changes in the DNA can be acquired in a person’s lifetime or inherited from a parent.

  • Inherited gene mutations: Some inherited genes from the parents tend to increase the risk of this disease. However, inherited gene mutations are not considered to be one of the major bladder cancer causes.
  • Acquired gene mutations: These are mutations that happen during a one’s lifetime and cannot be passed on to children. These are changes that are found only in the cells that come from the original mutated cell and are called acquired mutations.

Risk Factors For Bladder Cancer

Having a risk factor or several of them does not mean that you will get bladder cancer. However, risk factors increase the chances of getting the disease. There are several cancer causes and risk factors, and these include:

A Person’s Age

This type of cancer is more common in older people than younger people below the age of 40. The chances of someone developing cancer increases after age 55. (1)

Family History

Having a family member who has a history of the cancer of bladder increases the risk of developing the disease. Similarly, how far your relationship is to a relative with bladder cancer will determine how likely you will get the disease. For example, having a brother with bladder cancer increases your risk of it than having an aunt who has the same disease.

A Person’s Racial Background

Bladder cancer is more common in African-American men and Caribbean men than in men of other race. The primary reasons for these racial differences are not clear. (2)


Studies have shown that men are more likely to get the disease than women.

History Of Chronic Bladder Irritation

Kidney stones, bladder stones and bladder catheters left in place for an extended period, urinary infections and other causes of chronic bladder irritation are relevant risk factors and some of the most common bladder cancer causes. Furthermore, these infections are usually linked to squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder. Schistosomiasis is an infection of the bladder with a parasitic worm; is also a risk factor for developing bladder cancer.

History Of Smoking

Smoking is the most important risk factor for this cancer type. Smokers have a higher danger of developing cancer than non-smokers. Smoking causes a greater percentage of bladder cancer in both men and women.

Exposure To Chemicals

Exposure to toxic chemicals may increase the risk of bladder cancer. Chemicals such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine commonly know as aromatic amines may lead to bladder cancer. Workers who receive constants exposure to carcinogenic substances also have a higher risk of bladder cancer. (3)

Exposure To Arsenic

Arsenic is a naturally occurring compound in drinking water, and it enhances the risk of developing bladder cancer

Prior Cancer Treatments

Prior chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment can increase the possibility of bladder cancer. Furthermore, long-term use of chemotherapy drugs can also lead to irritation of the bladder thus increasing the risk of cancer developing. Those who have received radiation to their pelvis also have a higher danger of developing this cancer.

Family And Genetic History

Those who have family members with bladder cancer have a higher danger of developing the illness. This may be as a result of exposure to same cancer-causing chemicals such as smoke from tobacco. It may also be a result of shared changes in genes. These inherited genes may also increase the risk of bladder cancer. Some of the inherited gene syndromes include:

  • Retinoblastoma (RB1) gene
  • Cowden disease
  • Lynch syndrome

Insufficient Fluid Intake

Those who take a lot of fluids tend to empty their bladders more often thus releasing out toxic substances that may be present in the bladder. However, this is unlike for those who take a little amount of fluid.

Other risk factors include:

  • Use of certain medicines or herbal supplements
  • Personal history of bladder
  • Bladder birth defects


American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from

Cancer.Net. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from

MAYO CLINIC. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from

CANCER RESEARCH UK. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2017, from