Current smokers have up to four times the risk of getting bladder cancer compared to non-smokers, according to a new study. The study, led by Dr. Christian Abnet from the US. National Cancer Institute, also found that changes in cigarettes in recent years has caused a significant increase in those that get bladder cancer compared to in decades past.
The study also shows that women smokers have a greater risk of getting the cancer compared to men. In previous studies conducted from 1963-1987, 20-30% of women that had bladder cancer were found to be smokers. The new study, however, shows that 52% of women bladder cancer victims are smokers. That is also a 2% increase compared to men.
The study also shows that people that smoked in the past and have since stopped had a 2.2 times increased risk of getting bladder cancer.
Scientists say the reason why more smokers are getting bladder cancer today compared to the past is because of the redesign of the cigarette over the past few decades. In the Journal of the American Medial Association, a scientist says that both the concentrations of tar and nicotine have dropped in the past 50 years while cancer chemicals such as beta-naphthylamine, a bladder carcinogen, have been increased.
“These results support the hypothesis that the risk of bladder cancer associated with cigarette smoking has increased with time in the United States, perhaps a reflection of changing cigarette composition,” Abnet said about the results. “Prevention efforts should continue to focus on reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking.”
The study was conducted on more than 467,000 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Those who participated in the study were monitored regularly from October 1995 – December 2006. Bladder cancer was diagnosed in 3,896 men and 627 women.