Smoking and Bladder Cancer

Baptist Health Hardin: Smoking and Bladder Cancer

Smoking causes bladder cancer from the chemicals or carcinogens in the smoke that are absorbed into the blood. Learn more about smoking and bladder cancer.


Smoking and Bladder Cancer in Elizabethtown, KY, HealthTalks Transcript

Grant Burkeen, MD:
Smoking causes bladder cancer from the chemicals or carcinogens in the smoke getting absorbed into the blood. This blood is eventually filtered into the kidneys. The kidneys make it into urine, which is stored in the bladder. The bladder’s exposed to the chemicals that are in the urine.

The most common presentation of bladder cancer is painless hematuria, which is blood in the urine. It can also present with irritative symptoms such as urinary frequency or pain with urination, flank pain, suprapubic pain, or just vague abdominal pain, depending on where the cancer’s located and the extent of the cancer.

Bladder cancer can be fatal if it spreads and is not treated. This would be what’s called metastatic disease. Unfortunately, this stage is incurable, but we can still treat it with certain chemotherapy and immunotherapies.

The treatment of bladder cancer depends upon the stage of the cancer. Of course, if we catch this early, a lot of times we can just do a simple resection, but it could also be as complex as removing the entire bladder with the addition of chemotherapy and even radiation.

I recommend all smokers quit smoking. This not only decreases their chance of getting bladder cancer, but also many other types of cancer. It’s also beneficial for their overall health because of smoking’s effect on the heart, the lungs, and certain other organs of our body.

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