Tobacco smoking is the main known contributor to urinary bladder cancer; in most populations, smoking is associated with over half of bladder cancer cases in men and one-third of cases among women. There is a linear relationship between smoking and risk, and quitting smoking reduces the risk. Passive smoking has not been proven to be involved.
In a 10-year study involving almost 48,000 men, researchers found that men who drank 1.5 liters of water per day had a significantly reduced incidence of bladder cancer when compared with men who drank less than 240mL (around 1 cup) per day. The authors proposed that bladder cancer might partly be caused by the bladder directly contacting carcinogens that are excreted in urine, although this has not yet been confirmed in other studies.
Thirty percent of bladder tumors probably result from occupational exposure in the workplace to carcinogens such as benzidine. 2-Naphthylamine, which is found in cigarette smoke, has also been shown to increase bladder cancer risk. Occupations at risk are bus drivers, rubber workers, motor mechanics, leather (including shoe) workers, blacksmiths, machine setters, and mechanics.
Hairdressers are thought to be at risk as well because of their frequent exposure to permanent hair dyes.
It has been suggested that mutations at HRAS, KRAS2, RB1, and FGFR3 may be associated in some cases.