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Obesity and Bladder Cancer

August 7th, 2015

Obesity and Bladder Cancer

Obesity and Bladder Cancer

Bladder is the part of our body that is responsible for filtering waste products out from our blood and making urine. Recent studies have shown that obesity increases the risk of bladder cancer. Obesity can be defined as a medical condition which is characterized by the presence of abnormally high amount of unhealthy body fat. Obesity is typically measured by a scale known as the body mass index (BMI). People who have a BMI of more than 30 are considered to be obese.

Reasons for Association Between Obesity and Increased Risk of Cancer

The relationship between obesity and increased risk of cancer can be attributed to the following reasons:

  • Bladder Cancer Stages ImageFat tissue is known to produce huge amounts of estrogen. High levels of estrogen are known to increase the risk of endometrial, breast, and other types of cancers.
  • Obesity increases the levels of insulin and insulin growth factor (IGF1) in the blood. This in turn promotes the growth of tumors.
  • Fat cells are responsible for producing the hormones known as adipokines which can either promote or inhibit the growth of cells. This can also lead to a growth of tumors.
  • Fats cells can also directly or indirectly influence tumor growth regulators such as AMP-activated protein kinase and mTOR that is the mammalian target of rapamycin.
  • Obese people often suffer from chronic low level inflammation which has been found to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Linkage Between Obesity and Bladder Cancer

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the Shanghai Cancer Institute have concluded that a high BMI is linked with increased risk of bladder cancer. The researchers pooled in the results derived from 15 different studies. The studies have shown that in comparison to normal weight people, pre-obese and obese people had a 7% and 10% higher risk of developing bladder cancer. The researchers have arrived at a linear correlation between obesity and the risk fro bladder cancer. As per the study, for each increase in BMI by 5kg/m2, the risk for developing bladder cancer rises by 4.2%.

Prevention of Bladder Cancer

Some of the steps that can be followed to reduce the risk of bladder cancer are listed below:

  • Exercise and Bladder Cancer Survival ImageQuit Smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the ways in which you can reduce the chances of developing bladder cancer. Quitting smoking also reduces the risk of lung cancer, heart attack, and other major diseases.
  • Avoid exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as various arylamines and benzene.
  • Improve your diet: A very critical step in lowering your risk of bladder cancer is to improvise your diet by increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and avoiding a high fat diet. Uncooked vegetables, broccoli and cabbage are highly recommended. Red and processed meat should be avoided.
  • Increase intake of fluids: Increase your intake of fluids as a higher volume of urine can help in diluting the toxins. Consuming more fluids also increases the frequency of urination thereby protecting the bladder from harmful carcinogens. Water, and all types of beverages, including caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can be consumed for keeping your bladder healthy.


  • “Obesity and Risk of Bladder Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of 15 Cohort Studies” by Jiang-Wei Sun, et al. Published in March 24, 2015, issue of PLOS One, accessed on 5 June 2015. Retrieved from: https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119313

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