Information and Resources
[Print page (PDF, 11KB)]

  • What is bladder cancer?
    • The bladder is the organ in the body that stores urine before it leaves the body. The inside of the bladder is lined with a layer of cells called urothelial cells. The same type of cell also lines the kidneys, the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), and the urethra, which are all part of the urinary system. Cancer can begin in the lining cells in any of these. As the cancer grows deeper into the layers of the wall of the bladder, it becomes harder to treat.

  • Who is at-risk for bladder cancer?
    • Bladder cancer is more common among older persons, more common among men, and occurs more frequently in white persons.

      Studies show that workers in the trucking, dye, rubber, textile, leather, and chemical industries have a higher risk for bladder cancer. Approximately 5%-25% of bladder cancers among men and 8%-11% among women are associated with occupational exposures.

      Incidence rates of bladder cancer vary geographically with higher rates in the northeastern United States. Known risk factors such as smoking and occupational exposures do not explain the geographic variations suggesting there is an as yet unknown risk factor related to geographic variations.

  • How is bladder cancer related to the environment?
    • There are many environmental risk factors for bladder cancer. Smoking is the greatest risk factor associated with bladder cancer. Persons who smoke have more than twice the risk for bladder cancer than non-smokers. Research indicates that smoking causes approximately 20%-30% of bladder cancers among women and 50%-65% among men.

      Ingestion of high levels of inorganic arsenic can cause cancer. Extensive research about the relationship between bladder cancer and drinking water contamination found high levels of arsenic in drinking water causes cancer. The effect of low-to-moderate arsenic levels in drinking water is less definitive. Long-term exposure to disinfection byproducts in drinking water may also cause a small increase in the risk for bladder cancer. (Disinfection by-products are a family of chemicals formed when drinking water disinfectants react with naturally occurring organic matter and other substances in the source water. Such disinfectants are commonly used by public water suppliers to kill viruses and bacteria in the water.

  • How can you prevent bladder cancer?
    • You can reduce your risk for bladder cancer by not smoking. For current smokers, the risk for bladder cancer eventually returns to normal if they quit smoking.

      Some workplaces, like the trucking, dye, rubber, textile, leather and chemical industries, have a higher risk for bladder cancer for the workers. To reduce your risk in these workplaces, follow all health and safety rules such as wearing approved and appropriate personal protective equipment.

Last Revised: January 28, 2014


Data Query

Bladder Cancer Data:
Access the bladder cancer data in the WI EPHT online database. Review the Data Details below to learn about interpreting the data.

The WI EPHT online database has data about other specific cancers:

Data Details

What is the data source?

The website provides data from the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System, which is maintained by the Office of Health Informatics, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

How does WI EPHT measure cancer?

The WI EPHT website includes the following measures:

  • counts for each cancer type
  • age adjusted rate for each cancer type

What are some considerations for interpreting the data?

While significant effort is made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data, there are limitations that are listed below:

  • Reporting may be less complete from rural versus urban areas of the state.
  • Reporting may be less complete for cases where diagnosis and/or treatment occurs in a different state.
  • Reporting completeness is different depending on the type of cancer.

There are many factors that can contribute to a disease and should be considered when interpreting the data. Some of these include:

  • Demographics, e.g., race, gender, age
  • Socioeconomic Status, e.g., income level, education
  • Geographic, e.g., urban vs. rural
  • Changes in the medical field, e.g., diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements
  • Individual behavior, e.g., diet, smoking