Causes of Bladder Cancer

The causes of bladder cancer are not fully understood. Researchers have determined that the cancer often develops in the cells that line the bladder, which are known as transitional cells. For unknown reasons, changes occur in the DNA of these cells, which influences how the cells grow, divide and die. If the transitional cells grow uncontrollably or remain beyond their normal lifetimes, the resulting buildup of excess cells can form a cancerous mass, or tumor. Left untreated, the cancer can sometimes penetrate the bladder muscle and spread to adjacent tissue, and potentially metastasize to the bones or distant organs like the lungs and liver.

While bladder cancer has not been definitively linked to genetic DNA mutations that run in families, scientists believe that some individuals may inherit a reduced ability to break down and eradicate certain cancer-causing toxins, making them more susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of these substances. Such toxins include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Hazardous industrial chemicals
  • Aromatic amines like benzidine and beta-napththylamine (commonly used in the dye industry)

Research regarding bladder cancer causes is ongoing, and scientists are continuing to understand more about the DNA changes that occur in healthy transitional cells that cause them to become cancerous. At Moffitt Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida, we offer our patients the latest options in bladder cancer treatment, including access to robust clinical trials. Through these promising studies, we are continually improving bladder cancer treatments, allowing us to enhance survival rates and enrich our patients’ quality of life.

If you’d like to discuss bladder cancer causes with the team of cancer experts at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488, or schedule an appointment by completing our new patient registration form. For the convenience of our patients, we never require referrals.