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Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk

Study cites sun and smoke as other factors linked to the disease

MONDAY, April 27, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Sun exposure, smoking and the source of water used for drinking may each play a role in whether someone develops and dies from bladder cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that well water consumption was linked to a higher incidence of bladder cancer in women and death from the disease in men and women alike. They speculated that this might be from pesticides leeching into unmonitored wells.

However, the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation a person is exposed to from the sun was found to be inversely linked to the chance of developing or dying from bladder cancer.

The study also confirmed previous research that smoking cigarettes is directly tied to developing and dying from bladder cancer.

About 69,000 cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year, with the disease claiming about 14,000 lives, according to the American Cancer Society. Men are about three times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer, and incidence of the disease varies widely among states.

The study was to be presented this week in Chicago at the annual scientific meeting of the American Urological Association.

"Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor associated with bladder cancer, but sources such as the patient's water supply are coming to light as potential unmonitored risk factors," Dr. J. Brantley Thrasher, an association spokesman, said in a news release from the group.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about bladder cancer.

SOURCE: American Urological Association, news release, April 26, 2009
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