Like many types of cancer, there is no surefire way to prevent bladder cancer. However, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing it.
- Don't smoke or quit smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute, about half of all cases of bladder cancer are thought to be the result of smoking. But quitting reduces your risk, and the longer you've been smoke-free, the better. Quitting is no easy feat, so don't hesitate to speak with your healthcare professional about smoking cessation aids, such as medications and nicotine-replacement products. He or she may also be able to recommend a smoking-cessation support group as well.
- Be careful around chemicals. Always follow recommended safety practices, especially if you work around chemicals called aromatic amines. You may come in contact with these chemicals regularly if you work in an industry that makes rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles and paint products, if you're a truck driver, if you work with hair dyes or work at a dry cleaner.
- Drink plenty of water. While not all experts agree on it, some research has suggested that drinking water throughout the day may reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer, perhaps by diluting toxic substances and moving them more quickly out of the bladder.
- Get your fruits and vegetables. Studies have been mixed on just how much diet impacts bladder cancer risk; however, eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is healthy all-around and may help in reducing the risk of other types of cancer thanks to abundant antioxidants.
While regular screenings are vital tools with some other types of cancer, screenings for the general public for bladder cancer are not recommended at this time. However, if you fall into a high-risk group (if you've had a prior diagnosis of bladder cancer, certain bladder birth defects or have had a lot of work-related chemical exposure), consider talking with your healthcare professional about screenings.